Public Policy Committee Update - October 2016

Submitted by Jeanie Holt, Former Policy Committee Co-Chair

NHPHA’s Public Policy Committee is in the midst of some transitions. First, we expect to soon have a new Co-Chair. As we have previously mentioned, Jeanie Holt takes on new APHA leadership responsibilities in November so we have needed someone to work with JJ Smith in leading the Public Policy Committee. Donna Asbury has volunteered to take on organizing the committee work and leading the meetings while JJ Smith continues to use her expertise in legislative processes to lead our work with the NH House and Senate.

Second, the election will happen soon! Once that is over, the work pace will pick up—double time. Currently 126 Legislative Services Requests (LSRs—the first step in proposing a bill) have been filed. Any of those submitted by legislators who are re-elected will move forward while new legislators will quickly begin to file LSRs as well. Over the next two months, the Public Policy Committee will be assessing the results of the elections, and reading LSR titles and eventually bills. From this we will draft a list of legislation to follow as we prepare for January and the opening of the 2017 Session.

In preparation for 2017, we have been recruiting topic leads for our priority issues: Access to Quality Care, Alcohol and Other Drugs, Child Health and Safety, Climate Change and Health, Mental Health, Public Health Infrastructure, and Social Justice and Health. We also hope to add someone with budget expertise to help us evaluate biennial budget proposals and advocate for critical public health resources. These leads along with Committee and NHPHA leadership will hold a short weekly phone meeting during the session to look ahead a week or two and plan any needed NHPHA actions.

Meanwhile we are working to finish up policy statement writing and revising started during the summer. By the opening of the 2017 Session we hope to have new position statements on Child Health and Safety, Tobacco, Infectious Diseases, and Sexual and Reproductive Health. We also must finish up work on selecting and honoring Public Health Champions from the 2016 Session.

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