Kira Miller, Legislative Issues Chair
Save these dates and become involved! Legislative day 2016 is only a couple short months away-now is the time to provide input towards important issues. Legislative Day will be held on Thursday, February 4, 2016. Please visit WSAND Events page for more information and to register. Action Alerts are open for the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2015 as well as Support Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Currently, the FDA is seeking professional input on the use of the word, "Natural" on food labels. Comments will be accepted until February 10, 2016. Click here to submit comments about the use of the term "natural" on food labels. Please include docket number FDA-2014-N-1207 on each page of your written comments.
To submit comments by mail:
Division of Dockets Management HFA-305
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
WSAND Legislative Day will be taking place on Thursday, February 4, 2016 in Olympia, WA.
This will be an excellent opportunity for the nutrition experts in our state to join together to advocate for positive change.
We are looking forward to our 7th annual Legislative Day
This year, GSDA provided a scholarship to help fund a member's attendance!
Therese Martinez Attended WSAND Legislative Day February 6th 2015
Below is her report:
The Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, an affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, held their 2015 Legislative Day on February 6, 2015 at the Capitol in Olympia, Washington. I attended this daylong experience and had quite the entertaining and enlightening venture. Legislative Day brought in folks from all over the state, many of whom were students, but other practicing dietitians and food and nutrition professionals as well. The overall experience was very enlightening and showed me the behind the scenes work it takes to get a bill passed and make an impact in the community. Though I also walked away rather disheartened because the struggle is quite significant to get enough legislators to recognize and vote in favor of a bill, justifying funds toward the bill, and pushing the bill forward, so the process can be rather daunting and unsuccessful much of the time.
The day started with an introduction by Kaitlin Todd, president of WSAND, and continued with lobbyist Scott Sigmon discussing his role in advocating for bills related to health and nutrition, and the process of the legislative session. He was a particularly entertaining speaker and I believe I walked way learning the most from him. This point in the day reminded me a lot of high school government class, re-learning the basics of the structure and processes of the legislature. There were a couple other speakers after him, but the next one that grabbed my attention was Randy Dorn. He discussed the newest progress and current movements with the Healthiest Next Generation that Governor Insley is behind. There were three major bills that support the Healthiest Next Generation, two of which I had not known of before. These bills are: HB 1164-Kitchen Equipment for Healthy Meals, which increases funding for schools to utilize better equipment for cooking/cleaning. Something such as a “drinking station” would also fall under this bill. The second bill is Breakfast After the Bell, HB 1295. This bill would enable schools to provide breakfast to children after the first bell in the hopes that more students would eat breakfast overall and therefore assist in increasing their learning.
We also had an opportunity to walk around to various legislators offices and hand out lettuce seeds and a handout that explained who we were, what RD’s do in the community, and asked for support of the Breakfast After the Bell bill. We rarely actually talked to legislators, though, which was unfortunate, but we did tell their assistants everything. A couple legislators came and had lunch with the group and we talked about some of the programs students were in and the bills for which we were advocating. Lastly, we were supposed to be able to go sit in on sessions, but there were apparently none that day to sit in on, so the day ended a little early.
Overall it was very interesting to see what was brewing behind the political scenes in Olympia in regard to potential bills related to health and nutrition. It was exciting to see that there are a lot of folks in Olympia that care to push for those bills, too. Budget is the biggest barrier, and its hard to take money away from other great causes to fund these, even though they are great too. Hopefully the minds in Olympia will be able to find a favorable balance. I have come away from this experience knowing that each voice is really very important in production and implementation for change. I plan on making my voice heard on issues I truly believe about, and also plan on being less critical to those in Olympia attempting to make the changes that are unsuccessful.
Know your legislators and contact them about the issues that are important to you!