Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Cigarette trafficking has become a highly profitable revenue source for criminal and terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, al Qaeda and Hamas. Money is often raised in the United States, then funneled back to these international terrorist groups. Cigarette smuggling is a multibillion dollar phenomenon and getting worse. To counter this trend, I introduced the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act of 2009 which recently passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. It provides law enforcement essential resources to crack down on black market tobacco ventures.
The PACT Act will strengthen our tobacco laws to ensure that law enforcement has the tools they need to investigate and prosecute cigarette traffickers. Illegal tobacco vendors around the world evade detection by conducting transactions over the Internet, then shipping their illegal products around the country to consumers. Just a few years ago, there were less than 100 vendors selling cigarettes online. Today, approximately 500 vendors sell illegal tobacco products over the Internet. Each day we delay the PACT Act's passage, terrorists and criminals raise more money, states lose significant tax revenue, and kids have easy access to tobacco products sold over the internet.
In 1998, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had six active tobacco smuggling investigations. Today there are more than 400. But the number of cases alone does not sufficiently put the challenge into perspective. The amount of money involved is truly astonishing. Cigarette trafficking, including the illegal sale of tobacco products over the internet, costs states billions of dollars in lost tax revenue each year. It is estimated that we lose $5 billion of tax revenue, at the federal and state level, every year.
The cost to Americans is not merely financial. Internet tobacco sales have been used by terrorist and organized crime groups to raise millions of dollars to support their illicit activities. Hezbollah is estimated to have earned $1.5 million between 1996 and 2000 through tobacco smuggling. The 9/11 Commission noted that terrorists often raise money by trafficking in counterfeit goods, such as cigarettes. We can no longer continue to let terrorist organizations exploit the weaknesses in our tobacco laws to their advantage.
The Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act will:
· Strengthen reporting requirements for interstate cigarette sellers.
· Increase the criminal penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony and create a substantial civil penalty for violations, including violations of the reporting requirements and state tobacco tax laws.
· Grant federal and state law enforcement officials more power to investigate and prosecute violators.
· Prohibit the United States Postal Service from delivering tobacco products
The common sense approach taken in the PACT Act to combat this problem has brought together a strong coalition of supporters. The legislation has the backing of the law enforcement community, numerous public health advocates, and tobacco companies. I am encouraged by the Judiciary Committee's vote and am optimistic that we can work together to pass this bill.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Statewide Smoking Ban: What Does It Mean for Municipalities?
[November 2009 Note] By Curt Witynski, Assistant Director
Smoke Free in Wisconsin
[November 2009 Comment] by Lucie McGee, Eau Claire Assistant Attorney
Please note the "Conclusion" of the second article. It states that "Nearly every department of the city has been involved in the ongoing implementation of the smoke-free ordinance. It is safe to say that no one anticipated the amount of related work and oversight that would be generated from a seemingly simple change in the law. Now, the state, local governments and all communities are being faced with this challenge."
Friday, December 4, 2009
The Senate And Assembly versions of the drunken driving bill are identical in many ways. Both would:
Make a 4th OWI a felony if it occurs within a 5 year previous offense (right now it isn't a felony offense until the 5th)
Require ignition interlocks for repeat drunken drivers or for first time offenders if their BAC exceeds 0.15
Make first-offense drunken driving a misdemeanor if a child under 16 is in the car (WI is the only state to treat first offenses as traffic tickes rather than crimes)
Expand the Winnebago County Safe Streets program across the state-this gives judges the opportunity to reduce jail time to offenders who complete an alcohol/drug treatment program.
Eliminate the provision that provides lighter penalties for lesser BAC. Lower blood alcohol levels would face the same fines and penalties at those 0.10 or above.
So what still needs to be worked out? FUNDING
The changes would cost an estimated 15-28 million dollars annually, largely beause of the increased costs to house inmates. The two bills differ on how to pay costs when analysts are unsure of how many people would be sentenced. Both do agree however that they want to cover the costs by increasing fees on offenders.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
CDC Report Finds U.S. Adult Smoking Rate Stagnating
A new report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the U.S. adult smoking rate remained relatively unchanged in 2008, with approximately one in five adults reporting that they currently smoke, AHA News Now reports. Based on an analysis of data drawn from the 2008 National Health Interview Survey, the researchers found that the national smoking rate declined from 24.1 percent of the population in 1998 to 20.6 percent in 2008. However, the report also notes that year-to-year decreases have been sporadic.
Meanwhile, the report finds that smoking rates vary significantly by race and ethnicity, with Asians registering the lowest smoking rates at just 9.9 percent, followed by Hispanics at 15.8 percent, non-Hispanic Blacks at 21.3 percent and non-Hispanic Whites at 22 percent. American Indians/Alaska Natives registered the highest rates of current smokers at 32.4 percent of that population. The report also suggested that education appears to be a strong predictor of smoking rates. For example, smoking prevalence was 41.3 percent among individuals with a General Educational Development certificate, 27.5 percent among those with a high school diploma, and just 5.7 percent among individuals with a graduate degree. Examining smoking trends based on geographical location, meanwhile, the report finds that the U.S. Virgin Islands recorded the lowest smoking rate at 6.5 percent, while West Virginia had the highest at 26.6 percent.
Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that "evidence-based programs known to be effective at reducing smoking should be intensified among groups with lower education" and that health providers should consider the education-level of patients when providing information about smoking cessation (AHA News Now, 11/12/09; Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, 11/13/09).
Wisconsin Receives Federal Funding for Smoking Cessation
Wisconsin health officials have received $9 million in federal funding from the National Institutes of Health to launch a new smoking cessation study, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Slated to launch next spring, the study will provide smoking cessation counseling and aids to approximately 2,300 smokers at clinics in south and central Wisconsin. Acknowledging that many current smokers are interested in quitting, the director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention said that the study would allow efforts to "meet smokers where they are in terms of their willingness to try quitting" (Fauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/12/09).
North Carolina Officials Debate How to Implement Smoking Ban
As North Carolina prepares to implement a statewide smoking ban, local health officials are determining what, if any, additional restrictions they should impose, the Star News Online reports. Slated to take effect January 2, the law will prohibit smoking in most bars and restaurants and allow cities and counties to extend the smoking ban through their own ordinances. However, the law prohibits local bans from including private homes, private vehicles, tobacco shops, private clubs and actors smoking in performances. Previously, individual cities and counties were only authorized to implement smoking bans inside local government buildings, in the immediate surroundings of departments of health and social services, and on public transportation. In anticipation of the new law, the Brunswick County board of health plans to hold a series of meetings to discuss whether to make the county complex in Bolivia smoke-free, and officials in New Hanover and Pender are expected to debate similar measures. Brunswick County is also said to be considering an extension of the smoking ban to include all of the county's parks and recreation spaces (Eckenrode, Star News Online, 11/10/09).
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
[Winnebago County]-Traditionally, it is assumed that underage drinking peeks around prom and graduation seasons. However, a study conducted by the UDETC (Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center) showed that drinking underage most frequently occurs on the night before Thanksgiving. The Tobacco-Free & Drug-Free Communities Coalition is concerned with the findings of this study because Wisconsin high school students drink at a higher rate than the national average. The June 2008 Youth Risk Behavior Survey reports that while the national underage drinking rate is 37%, Wisconsin’s underage drinking rate is 49%. The Coalition has identified risk factors that are present in our community that contribute to this trend.
The contributing factors are:
Access Older siblings and college age friends are all home for the holidays. They are often the ones who buy and furnish alcohol for teens.
Availability: Refrigerators are stocked and readied with alcohol for family parties.
Time: School is out. Teens have plenty of down time to hangout and engage in risky behavior.
Adult Modeling: Adult role models intermingle drinking with the hunting sport.
Underage drinkers are more likely to engage in risky behaviors putting themselves in danger of drunk driving fatalities, crimes, neurological brain damage, STD’s, unwanted pregnancies, and addiction.
This holiday season, parents and adults have an opportunity to establish strong family traditions that are not geared around drinking with a few simple steps. First, take time to divert teen alcohol use by promoting alcohol-free youth activities. Second, consider where the alcohol is stocked in your home and ensure it is locked up to minimize access. Finally, be a positive role model and limit your own alcohol intake.The Coalition reminds parents they do not have to tolerate underage alcohol use. If parents communicate their expectations on drinking to their teen agers, we can reduce alcohol related problems with youth this holiday season.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
In its 2009 report, Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence, the committee concludes that data consistently demonstrates that secondhand-smoke exposure increases the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attacks and that smoking bans reduce this risk. Given the prevalence of heart attacks, and the resultant deaths, smoking bans can have a substantial impact on public health.
Another article that describes two of the studies that were in the report (one report from Circulation and one from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology) can be found here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8267523.stm
ONLY 242 days until Wisconsin goes SMOKE-FREE!
Monday, October 12, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Please see the article below. It was posted on the Wisconsin State Journal's website on Sept. 30.
If you would like more information on this issue or ideas of how you could help, please contact SmokeFree Wisconsin. A link to their website is on the right-hand side of this blog.
Starting Thursday, smokers with health insurance who call the state Quit Line for help kicking their habit will get less help, the result of a 55 percent cut in state funding to smoking cessation and anti-smoking programs.
In spite of soaring state cigarette taxes, the Quit Line's funding was slashed by two-thirds - from $3.7 million a year to $1.2 million - as part of the broad cuts implemented in the 2009-11 budget signed by Gov. Jim Doyle to help solve the state's massive deficit. Total funding for anti-tobacco programs was cut from $15.3 million a year to $6.9 million.
The cuts follow a 75-cent increase in the cigarette tax on Sept. 1 that brought the state tax to $2.52 per pack, and also follows a $1-per-pack increase in 2008 - moves made to help solve budget deficits.
Maureen Busalacchi, executive director of SmokeFree Wisconsin, said more resources are needed by smokers motivated to quit by both the tax increase and a state smoking ban on bars and restaurants going into effect on July 5, 2010.
"When people need the resources most, we'll be least able to help them," Busalacchi said.
The Quit Line previously offered four sessions of follow-up calls to state smokers who call seeking to kick the habit, along with two weeks of a free nicotine patch or nicotine gum, at a total cost of $323 for callers who use all those services, said Moira Harrington, spokeswoman for the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, which oversees the Quit Line.
The Quit Line, operated by a company in Seattle, still will offer the same level of service to smokers with no health coverage or with state Medicaid coverage for the poor, she said. But smokers with private health insurance now will receive one follow-up call and the nicotine replacement items, said Harrington, who couldn't rule out additional cuts in services.
"It's not a decision we made lightly," she said. "We've just had to make a hard choice."
Dr. Michael Fiore, director of the center, said research showed more follow-up counseling sessions with smokers was more effective in helping them quit.
State Department of Health Services spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis said smokers with private health insurance still will be able to make repeat calls to the Quit Line. But now the responsibility is on the smokers to call, instead of the counselors making follow-up calls to the smoker.
"This means we will make the best use of limited Quit Line resources and maximize access to smoking cessation services through private insurance," Marquis said
Other cuts to state tobacco control programs included:
• Overall programs to help people quit smoking, including the Quit Line and programs aimed at pregnant mothers, fall from $5 million a year to $1.8 million.
• Training and technical assistance for those working to reduce smoking drop from $1.5 million in 2009 to $505,000 in 2010.
• Anti-tobacco programs aimed at minorities drop from $1.3 million to $752,000 and programs aimed at teens will drop from $928,500 to $390,000.
• Anti-smoking advertising falls from $835,000 to $430,000.
Busalacchi said she supports a bill by Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Eau Claire, that would provide more than $2 million in additional money for anti-tobacco efforts. The bill would do so by rolling back a recent increase in how much of the cigarette tax can be kept by wholesale tobacco sellers to cover the costs of collecting the tax for the state and placing tax stamps on cigarette packages.
A representative of the industry, which opposes the bill, could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.
Monday, September 28, 2009
September 23, 2009
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National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA*) at Columbia University
New York, NY, September 23, 2009 – Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners (five or more per week), those who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are twice as likely to use tobacco or marijuana; more than one and a half times likelier to use alcohol; and twice as likely to expect to try drugs in the future, according to The Importance of Family Dinners V, a new report by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.
The report also found that compared to teens who have five to seven family dinners per week, those who have fewer than three family dinners per week are:
Twice as likely to have friends who use marijuana and Ecstasy;
More than one and a half times likelier to have friends who drink, abuse prescription drugs, and use Meth; and
Almost one and a half times likelier to have friends who use illegal drugs like cocaine, acid and heroin.
"The magic of the family dinner comes not from the food on the plate but from who's at the table and what's happening there. The emotional and social benefits that come from family dinners are priceless," said Elizabeth Planet, CASA's Vice President and Director of Special Projects. "We know that teens who have frequent family dinners are likelier to get A's and B's in school and have excellent relationships with their parents. Having dinner as a family is one of the easiest ways to create routine opportunities for parental engagement and communication, two keys to raising drug-free children."
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
On Thursday, September 17, the Assembly voted 95-0 in support of Assembly Bill 283 authored by Representative Tony Staskunas. Below is a brief summary of the key provisions. In his floor speech Staskunas said this is the beginning of the process and there are many other things we can do to continue the fight. This was truly a bi-partisan effort and he should be commended for reaching out to the republicans and welcoming their ideas.
The Senate still has to act and many believe a bill will be on the Governor's desk by November.
The specific provisions are:
- Mandatory Ignition Interlock Devices for first time offenders with a .15 BAC and all repeat drunk drivers.
- Allowing the Expansion of the Winnebago County Safe Streets Treatment Options Program statewide.
- Closing .08-.099 BAC Loophole.
- Allowing probation for 2nd and 3rd OWI offenses.
- Extending the period of license revocation until after completion of sentencing.
- Penalty enhancer for causing injury.
- Making a 4th OWI a felony if it is within five years of a previous OWI conviction.
- Criminalizing a first OWI if there are any children in the vehicle at the time of arrest.
- Increase the OWI surcharge by $100 to pay for Prosecutors.
- Re-direct the beer tax to the Department of Corrections for AODA programs.
- Immediate incarceration upon a 3rd OWI conviction.
- Direct the Judicial Council to develop statewide sentencing guidelines for OWI offenses.
Candy and Fruit Flavored Cigarettes Now Illegal in United States; Step is First Under New Tobacco Law
For Immediate Release: Sept. 22, 2009
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today a ban on cigarettes with flavors characterizing fruit, candy, or clove. The ban, authorized by the new Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, is part of a national effort by the FDA to reduce smoking in America. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in America.
The FDA's ban on candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes, effective today, highlights the importance of reducing the number of children who start to smoke, and who become addicted to dangerous tobacco products. The FDA is also examining options for regulating both menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco products other than cigarettes.
"Almost 90 percent of adult smokers start smoking as teenagers. These flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers," said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. "The FDA will utilize regulatory authority to reduce the burden of illness and death caused by tobacco products to enhance our Nation's public health."
Flavors make cigarettes and other tobacco products more appealing to youth. Studies have shown that 17 year old smokers are three times as likely to use flavored cigarettes as smokers over the age of 25.
"Flavored cigarettes attract and allure kids into lifetime addiction," said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H. "FDA's ban on these cigarettes will break that cycle for the more than 3,600 young people who start smoking daily."
The FDA is taking several steps to enforce the ban. A letter recently sent to the tobacco industry provided information about the law, and explained that any company who continues to make, ship or sell such products may be subject to FDA enforcement actions.
The FDA has also made available today an advisory to parents on the risks associated with flavored tobacco products.
"Youth are twice as likely to report seeing advertising for these flavored products as adults are," said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a pediatrician and the FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner. "Marketing campaigns for products with sweet candy and fruit flavors can mislead young people into thinking that these products are less addictive and less harmful."
The FDA encourages consumers to report continuing sales of flavored cigarettes through a special tobacco hotline (1-877-CTP-1373) and Web site (www.fda.gov/flavoredtobacco).
General information can be found at:
Q & A information can be found at:
Factsheet for parents can be found at:
(just a side note, this law only regulates flavors in CIGARETTES, smokeless products, cigars, cigarillos, etc are NOT included. The FDA bill does not speficially call for a ban on candy-flavored non-cigarette tobacco products. Hopefully, with efforts from Coalitions like ours, this will change.)
Monday, September 14, 2009
A letter was submitted to the FDA today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, the American Legacy Foundation, the American Lung Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids alerting the FDA of possible industry efforts to get around the ban.
If you see evidence of these efforts in your community, comments can be submitted to the FDA on this and other issues at www.regulations.gov
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Press in attendance: WLUK TV 11, WBAY TV 2, WGBA TV 26, WFRV TV 5, WHBY 1150 AM, WTAQ, WOSH, Post Crescent, Time Warner Cable On Demand
Click www.wbay.com scroll down and find the video that was shown on Channel 2
Scope of Problem: JB Van Hollen- WI Atty. General:
Van Hollen started out saying that "RX drug abuse/misuse is a serial killer that needs to be taken down. (Making the comparison to Milwaukee’s recent headlines). We need to raise awareness and advise the public of the degree of the problem. This is a huge problem with a simple solution, educate youth on dangers and reduce access to non-prescribed drugs."
Legislative Efforts: Rep. Gary Sherman (D-Port Wing)
Sherman is author of a bi-partisan bill that will monitor prescription drug dispensers. He says there is "nothing political about it". Whenever a customer purchases a prescription drug they are entered into a data base. The intent is to drastically reduce "Dr. Shopping" or the practice of persons going to several pharmacies or stores to attempt to purchase prescription drugs at various locations in same time frame. 14 people died in his area of Ashland and Bayfield Counties from RX OD, non died from hard drugs overdoses. This bill has a lot of support and is on the floor for hearing Wednesday Sept 15. If passed (and he expects it to since WI is only one of 3 states that do not have such a process already) it then goes in front of senate to be heard. I asked him after the conference how can our coalition support this bill and he said that after its heard next week and on its way to Senate. We should be lobbying and writing letters and making phone calls to our senators in support.
Prevention Efforts: Jason Weber-Town of Menasha PD
Ripon traffic stops have produced bags of pills. Homes and businesses in Winnebago County are reporting burglaries and theft of pills. Realtors are alarmed that prescription pills are being stolen out of open house showing in Two Rivers. "Pharm" parties are occurring all too often in Green Bay. This is why Crime Prevention Officers in partnership with Purdue Pharm, a Drug Free America and the Drug Free Communities coalition has developed "Good Drugs Gone Bad" community toolkit. It includes presentations targeted at teens, parents of teens, and older adults as well as pharmacy security measures, posters, PSA’s and more. Coalitions and Crime Prevention officers are now working on extending materials to targeted groups. Weber will distribute tool kits at State wideCrime Prevention Conference and local coalitions plan "train the trainer" workshops to share with youth workers.
Victim Impact: Karen Falck parent of Cory McNeil (Depere HS student who died 3 years ago of Rx drugs)
This was an emotional account on how vibrant her son was. He was an athlete and a well rounded respectful youth. He got caught up in drugs, began lying to her and she was ultimately shocked to get a phone call saying he died from drug use. She is an advocate because this with this form of substance abuse "there is no time to learn from your mistakes, its too late, it kills you."
Cindy Meyers parent of 19 year old former drug user. Discussed how parents should be cautious and secure their pills, at least make kids work hard for them if they are going to steal them. Too easy to experiment.
Questions on trend: Brad Dunlap-MEG fielded press questions on upward spike of drug use and also referred to the MEG Threat Assessment
Visuals: Barry Busby-County Coroner displayed pictures of the abundant supply of prescription pills taken from homes of deceased this year alone. He explained to the press the intent of the time released products and how overdoses occur all too often when youth crush, or take pill in non-prescribed form.
For more information, contact Lisa Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Today’s announcement by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Lorillard Inc. and other tobacco manufacturers that they have filed suit to overturn portions of the recently passed FDA tobacco legislation is not unexpected. The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in Bowling Green, Kentucky, seeks to overturn portions the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act which deal with advertising, marketing and labeling of tobacco products.
The tobacco companies have challenged language in the bill that would compel them to scientifically justify claims of "reduced risk" for any tobacco product. They are also challenging the requirement for larger graphic warning labels on cigarette packs, as well as restrictions on colorful advertising which impacts children, advertising within 1000 feet of playgrounds or schools and numerous other marketing and advertising restrictions. In challenging these restrictions in the FDA tobacco legislation, R.J. Reynolds and the others are asking a federal court to allow them to continue to employ the same irresponsible and deadly marketing techniques which have addicted generations of American children and caused an epidemic of disease, death and heartbreak for American families.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed into law on June 22, 2009 by President Obama, is carefully crafted and consistent with the First Amendment. The advertising and marketing restrictions in the bill, first introduced in 1996 as the FDA Tobacco Rule, have been reviewed and cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice. The restrictions have been carefully developed to satisfy constitutional requirements. They are supported by recent findings by the Institute of Medicine, the President’s Cancer Panel and The U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, and the National Cancer Institute.
The lawsuit filed today is simply more proof that the tobacco industry is far more interested in its bottom line than it is in doing anything meaningful to stop the cycle of addiction and disease that comes from tobacco use. The FDA tobacco bill, when fully implemented, will save lives. We hope the federal court will quickly and decisively reject the latest attempt by Big Tobacco to circumvent the law, and allow the FDA to get on with its role in putting an end to the deceptive and dangerous tobacco marketing practices which have taken such a terrible toll on this nation’s health.
A related article published in the New York Times can be read here:
Thursday, August 27, 2009
TFK also estimates that 15,000 smoking deaths will be prevented as a result of the tax, and Wisconsin is projected to save nearly $750 million in future health care costs.
Not only will the tax increase affect cigarettes but it will also affect other kinds of tobacco including moist snuff, chewing tobacco, cigars and loose tobacco.
Quitting smoking improves health and quality of life. If you are a smoker and want to quit
talk with your healthcare providers about quitting or contact the Coalition at 920-232-3000.
Monday, August 24, 2009
You can check out the list of 2009 continuation grantees at www.ondcp.gov/dfc.
This is gret news!
Our Coalition has worked very hard this year building partnerships and engaging in efforts to reduce substance abuse among our community's youth and adults.
Thank you to all of our Coalition partners and supporters!
Friday, August 21, 2009
The tobacco tax, smoke-free legislation, and tobacco prevention and control funding were all key issues during the legislative session.
While the tax increase and smoke-free workplace legislation passed both houses, tobacco prevention and control funding was reduced by 55%.
The two major pro-tobacco corporations, Altria- Philip Morris
(Marlboro) and Reynolds American (manufacturer of Camels, Kool and
Winston) spent a total of $985,000 in the first six months of the legislative session. In their GAB reports, the companies stated their efforts were in opposition to the tax increase of cigarettes.
The cigarette manufacturers’ lobbying reports also stated that a substantial majority of their lobbying costs were not in payment for lobbyists’ fees. Altria reported $462,000 and Reynolds reported
$300,257 in expenses that were not detailed. The GAB allows these costs for research, public relations (to urge the public to influence state
legislation) and volunteers’ expenses.
Overall, Altria ranked second in expenditures among lobbyists in this period and Reynolds American ranked sixth. The highest ranking pro-health organizations were the Wisconsin Medical Society which ranked 18th and the American Cancer Society which was 62nd.
Organizations primarily opposing the smoke-free workplace legislation included the Tavern League of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Association of Music and Amusement Operators.
The leading pro-health organizations,in order of their expenditure, were American Cancer Society, Smoke Free Wisconsin, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the Wisconsin Medical Society and the Wisconsin Restaurant Association.
Expenditures by Altria may be higher than reported. According to the GAB report, 163 hours of lobbying services were reported by Essie Kammer Group but without payment. Fees for Altria’s other primary lobbyists, former Acting Governor Schreiber and Tavern League lobbyist Scott Stenger, ranged between $47,000 and $50,000 for a similar number of hours worked.
The tobacco tax increase takes effect on September 1, 2009 and the all Wisconsin workplaces go smoke-free on July 5, 2010. According to a recent WI Department of Health Services’ survey one in five adults in Wisconsin regularly smoke.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
TPCP announced plans for the remainder of 2009 and all of 2010 to continue to implement a comprehensive approach to tobacco prevention and control. Please click the link below to view the Budget Summary or the webinar from August 18th.
Some details about how this will effect local coalitions like the TFDFC are included in the Budget Summary. For more details, please contact Emily, email@example.com
Monday, August 17, 2009
Starting August 3rd, the TPCP and the Wisconsin Ethnic Networks and Tobacco Prevention and Poverty Network launched a new media campaign entitled "Everybody Smokes When Anybody Smokes". The campaign is geared towards African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, Hmong, and Low Socio-Economic populations. Elements include radio, bus, and billboard advertising. The ads encourage listeners to call the appropriate network or visit the campaign's Facebook page at www.endthesmoke.com (this URL redirects to the campaign's Facebook page).
The campaign is timed to coincide with network appearances at community events and will run for four weeks from Monday, August 3rd-Sunday, August 30th. The campaign has been in development for several months, and although the campaign budget was reduced, it will still communicate an important message to some of Wisconsin's most disparately-impacted populations.
Monday, July 20, 2009
MANCHESTER, N.H. --“ A New Hampshire man says he swiped his debit card at a gas station to buy a pack of cigarettes and was charged over 23 quadrillion dollars.
Josh Muszynski (Moo-SIN'-ski) checked his account online a few hours later and saw the 17-digit number--a stunning $23,148,855,308,184,500 (twenty-three quadrillion, one hundred forty-eight trillion, eight hundred fifty-five billion, three hundred eight million, one hundred eighty-four thousand, five hundred dollars).
Muszynski says he spent two hours on the phone with Bank of America trying to sort out the string of numbers and the $15 overdraft fee.
The bank corrected the error the next day.
Bank of America tells WMUR-TV only the card issuer, Visa, could answer questions. Visa, in turn, referred questions to the bank.
Now if only we could have used that money for prevention efforts and billed Visa! -emily
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
A bill has been introduced that would restore some of this lost funding.
The Tobacco Free Families Bill, authored by Rep. Jeff Smith, is currently circulating for co-sponsors in both houses of the legislature. If passed, the bill would lower the discount on tobacco tax stamps for tobacco retailers, generating some $2.4 million for the tobacco prevention and control program.
Bill process: Legislators can sign on to sponsor the bill July 31, 2009. The bill will then be turned in to leadership in the Assembly and Senate for a bill number and committee assignment. From there, the bill will likely go to a committee in both the Senate and Assembly, and then to the Joint Finance Committee. If passed out of the committees, the same bill must be passed by both houses of the legislature and signed by the Governor before it becomes law.
Editorials and letters to the editor regarding the importance of program funding are highly encouraged.
For a fact sheet about the proposed bill click the link below:
To learn learn what you could do to support this legislation VISIT www.smokefreewi.org and click the "Take Action" tab.
For the list of current legislators who are co-sponsoring the bill, contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Winnebago County Coroner and Tobacco-Free & Drug-Free Communities Leadership Committee Member raises awareness!
Things to consider:
Size of drink
Food intake while drinking
# of drinks per hour/ rate of consumptiono
WHO IS DRIVING HOME?(designated driver, cab companies)
I am associated with the Tobacco-Free & Drug-Free Communities Coalition of Winnebago County. Visit this local group’s booth at Country USA or Waterfest where you can learn more about the amount of time it takes to reach 0.0 BAC after drinking. We need to educate citizens, support law enforcement’s efforts, call for legislators to toughen the laws related to OWI and judges need to hand down stiffer penalties for drunk drivers. We need to cut the losses on the highways and streets at every level.
What can you do?
Contact your legislators to ask for stricter penalties, they will listen. http://www.legis.state.wi.us/
If you are with someone who has consumed too much alcohol, don’t let them get behind the wheel.Have a sober driver take them home or call a cab.
If you see someone driving impaired call 911 immediately
Plan ahead and drink responsibly
If you are as passionate as me about this issue, contact Lisa Brown (920) 232-3009 of the Tobacco-Free & Drug-Free Coalition of Winnebago County at the County Health Department www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics.html
Submitted by Winnebago County Coroner Barry L. Busby
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Anyone can rate any event. Those posted are just a few of the events going on in Winnebago County. If you have an event that you'd like to add, just email Emily email@example.com or Lisa firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, June 15, 2009
"The legislation grants the FDA expansive regulatory authority over tobacco products, including their development and advertising. The law will be administered by a new division within the agency and funded by special taxes on tobacco manufacturers that are expected to raise a half-billion dollars per year. So tobacco users will face still higher prices and more restrictions on their favored products. Less clear is whether the new law, taken as a whole, will enhance public health. Some portions of the bill are almost certainly unconstitutional, and others could inhibit the marketing of less dangerous products.
The central provisions of the bill establish a new regulatory regime for tobacco. The bill sets specific limits on advertising and promotion, prohibiting sponsorship of sporting and entertainment events, free product giveaways, and advertising in publications with substantial teen readership. The federal government will also regulate vending machine placement, self-service displays, point-of-sale advertising, and over-the-counter sales at retailers. The FDA will have explicit authority to develop additional marketing limitations as it deems appropriate.Manufacturers will be required to place expanded warning labels on their products and to provide the government with more detailed information about cigarette contents and smoking by-products. The law also bans flavored cigarettes--except for menthol."
President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law in the next few days.
More information can be found at SmokeFree WI's blog (link on this page) or at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids www.tobaccofreekids.org
Friday, June 12, 2009
Highlights of the bill include:
- Marketing and advertising. It bans the words "mild," "lite" and "low tar" on cigarette packages. It will restrict magazine advertising to plain tombstone ads, so-called because they are black and white print rectangles.
- It prohibits marketers of smokeless-tobacco brands from making any suggestion that their products are healthier than cigarettes.
- Cigarette packages will have to devote 50% of both sides to safety warnings. (The House version only requires 30%)
- Flavored cigarettes, often marketed to children, would more than likely be completely prohibited.
- One critical provision will undo a 40-year-old prohibition against state regulation of tobacco marketing. It will let states pass their own restrictions, such as "time, place and manner" limits on the way cigarettes are sold at convenience stores and gas stations.
For additional information, visit the Smoke-Free Wisconsin blog (link on this page)
Monday, June 8, 2009
Our volunteers are making a strong presence with our Designated Driver project at Waterfest! We will continue to be there all summer on Thursday nights. A Party Sober banners labels our table while thought provoking sings line the blvd up to our point of contact. We posted the Cab Company # , have information from Solutions treatment center on hand, and everyone loves the "Party Sober" beads! WVBO radio station was on site June 4th and gave us a plug for our efforts. We appreciate the dedication of all those who have signed up to volunteer! Check out Chris DeIuliis who was joined by 2 Americorp volunteers Deanna Backhaus, Lynn Jaworski to represent us. They talked to attendees, and handed out coupons for free soda for those who are Designated Drivers at Waterfest. Way to go TF&DFC.
Contact Lisa Brown if you want to participate in other events this summer like Sovereign State Days, Sawdust Days or the Winnebago County Fair. email@example.com
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
What this means for TPCP that instead of getting roughly $15 million a year, the program would only get about $9.35 million for 2009-10 and a little over $10 million for 2010-2011. See what has happened to other states that have cut tobacco control funding here: WhenStatesCutFundingFactsheet
This is potentially a devastating blow to all of us who have spent so much time an effort working to reduce tobacco use and exposure to Wisconsin residents, helping people find quit resources and helping youth to never become addicted. A snapshot of the success of the program can be seen here: TPCP works!
WE all worked very hard at the Joint Finance Committee hearings to gain back the $1.8 million that was originally cut. But with the economic situation looking more grim than originally forecast, TPCP could face the largest cut since the program began in 2002.
This cut in NOT official. The State Assembly will be debating/voting on the budget starting next week. From there it will move to the Senate. BOTH houses must approve the SAME budget bill in order for it to pass. Finally it would go to the Governor to sign. He does have limited line-item veto power.
On a side note, the $.75 cigarette tax increase was approved by the Joint Finance Committee. Also, this tax increase is NOT official until the budget is approved and signed.
If you’d like more information, the home page of SmokeFree WI has a statement about the situation.www.smokefreewi.org. You can also contact Liz Sanger firstname.lastname@example.org for additional info.
Thank you for all you hard work so far!
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Wisconsin is going smoke-free! Eighty-six legislators voted in favor of workers' health and for safer workplace environments, including restaurants and bars. And that means bartenders, wait staff, musicians and others will experience fewer colds, runny noses, itchy eyes and other signs of respiratory distress, and more importantly, fewer cases of cancer, emphysema, heart attacks and other horrible diseases caused by exposure to secondhand smoke. All are indisputable benefits of smoke-free workplaces.
It's been a long and important battle for SmokeFree Wisconsin, an organization that has worked with local communities and state leaders to bring smoke-free air to Wisconsin citizens for the past nine years. But now that Wisconsin is the 27th state to pass a smoke-free workplace law, what's next for SmokeFree Wisconsin? Plenty.
We have and will continue to focus on policies that we know reduce youth tobacco use--such as raising the price of cigarettes and other tobacco products through higher taxes and funding prevention and educational programs. While the tobacco industry continues to target and addict youth by developing and marketing candy-flavored products that hook kids on new types of tobacco products, we must step up efforts to prevent tobacco addiction.
We already have a successful and proven tobacco control program in place. There is a strong correlation between the beginning of the program and the 40 percent reduction in youth smoking over the course of the past seven years. If we discontinue or reduce tobacco control programs targeted at youth, smoking rates will climb back up. And the cycle of addiction, disease and death will continue to devastate Wisconsin families.
Not only do kids need support, but adult smokers do, as well.
The state-sponsored tobacco Quitline has received tens of thousands of calls from smokers who want to quit tobacco for good, and we simply must do everything we can to help the one million tobacco users in this state.
Our work is not done, and our task will not be easy. But what's at stake is staggering:
Tobacco is the biggest cause of preventable, premature death and disease in Wisconsin, claiming nearly 8,000 lives every year. And the cost to Wisconsin citizens to treat tobacco-related diseases is real (to the tune of more than $2 billion each year). We all pay these costs in the form of higher health insurance premiums, so it's in everyone's interest to reduce the number of smokers in our state.
So today, let's celebrate Wisconsin becoming a smoke-free state--and thank the 86 forward-thinking legislators who chose health and prevention by voting for a smoke-free Wisconsin. They will go down in history as leaders who rescued many thousands of our citizens from premature death and illness.
But tomorrow, here at SmokeFree Wisconsin, we'll roll up our sleeves and continue our daily battle against tobacco--and its devastating path of destruction.
Maureen Busalacchi is executive director of SmokeFree Wisconsin, phone (608) 268-2620; e-mail email@example.com.
With the recent 40% that the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program that was approved by the Joint Finance Committee there are several changes that could take place.
What will happen next:
- More changes to the budget by JFC
- JFC's budget moves to full Assembly for debate and vote (great opportunity for you to tell your state representative to reverse the cut - explain how the Quitline, your local coalition, or youth prevention activities have made a difference for you)
- Budget moves to full Senate for debate and vote (important to also let your senator know why tobacco prevention is important to you or the people you care about)
- Budgets are reconciled between the Assembly and Senate
- Budget heads to governor's desk
- Governor may exercise line item veto power and sign or reject the legislature's budget
On another note, it looks like the proposed tobacco tax increase will be up for debate later tonight.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Representative Tony Staskunas has long been an advocate on trying to fix what’s wrong with our system as it relates to drunk driving. Today he has introduced an omnibus bill on drunk driving which includes his ignition interlock device bill. Below is a summary of the many changes his bill makes along with a copy of the actual bill. He has a scheduled a public hearing on the bill for next Tuesday, June 2 at the State Fair Park in West Allis.
Assembly Public Safety, 12:30 pm, Tue, June 2, State Fair Park, TGT Youth Center, Banquet Room 2, 640 S. 84th St., West Allis.
AB-283. DWI (Staskunas) Penalties for drunk driving.
1 - Mandatory Ignition Interlock Devices This proposal would require the installation and use of Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) for all repeat drunk driving convictions and for first time high BAC (.15 or higher) convictions for at least one year. Under AB 17 the convicted drunk driver would be responsible for paying for the installation and monitoring costs of the IID. OWI offenders whose income is at or below 150% of the federal poverty level would only be required to pay half of the installation and monitoring costs. Additionally, the offender would pay a $50 fee to the DOT to cover the state’s covers for IID oversight. The costs for this legislation will be paid for by the offender, not by the state.
The ignition interlock device equipment would be required for one year from the date that an offender obtains a drivers license. Offenders will not be able to ‘wait out’ the 12 month IID requirement during their license suspension.
2 - SAFE Streets Treatment Options Program In 2005 a pilot program was created in Winnebago County to offer reduced time of imprisonment to convicted OWI offenders contingent upon successful completion of a local treatment program in conjunction with probation. Offenders can opt to participate in this program only one time.
Data collected over the first two years of the project shows that Winnebago County saved over $465,000 dollars in jail time costs for the county which has allowed the county to spend $218,000 fewer dollars in overall criminal justice spending. Perhaps most importantly, the SAFE Streets program has a record 4% recidivism rate for those completing the program, significantly reducing the likelihood of re-offence.
This provision will allow the expansion of the SSTOP program statewide. Participation would not mandatory; this proposal simply allows counties to offer such programs within their jurisdiction.
3 – Punishing Repeat Drunk Drivers – There are currently statutory mandatory minimum jail sentences for misdemeanor OWI offenses and for 5th and 6th offenses, there are not for 7th and subsequent offences. This provision would establish mandatory minimum jail sentences for all OWI offenses.
There are ten judicial districts in Wisconsin. Each one has established their own OWI sentencing guidelines. As a result a person convicted in one judicial district can receive a much more lenient sentence than a person convicted of the same OWI offense in a different district. By establishing mandatory minimum sentencing we can be confident that a person convicted of a 7th OWI will serve a minimum of three years in prison no matter which part of the state they are from.
4 - Closing .08-.099 Loophole When the prohibited blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for the operation of motor vehicles was lowered from 0.10 to 0.08 in 2003, a special exemption was created for first-time offenses falling between the old limit and the new limit. This provision would repeal those exemptions.
Under current law, in addition to other penalties, individuals convicted of operating while intoxicated are subject to a number of penalty surcharges and court fees and must comply with a drug and alcohol assessment before their driving privileges can be reinstated. However, first-time offenders who have a BAC of 0.08 or more but less than 0.10 are not subject to penalty surcharges, court fees, or drug and alcohol assessments.
5 - Probation for OWI Offenses Under current law, a Judge may not order probation as part of the sentence upon a second or third OWI conviction. This provision would add probation as an additional option for Judges when issuing OWI sentences. Giving Judges the ability to individualize sentencing to include supervision, counseling or treatment could help to rehabilitate the offender.
6 - Extending the period of revocation Currently if a driver is convicted of an OWI offense has their license suspended and is sentenced to confinement, the suspension and jail time run concurrently. So upon release from jail if he could be eligible to get his license back immediately if the jail time and suspension were for the same time frame.
The punishment of a suspended license becomes almost irrelevant if the revocation runs at the same of incarceration. This provision changes state law so that the clock doesn’t start running for driver license revocations until after the OWI offender has completed their incarceration.
7 – Penalty Enhancer for causing Injury Currently if a driver is convicted of an OWI or an OWI-homicide offense, previous OWI convictions are taken into consideration for sentencing. This is not the case for OWI-causing injury offenses. This provision would simply allow previous OWI offenses to be considered in these cases in which a drunk driver caused injuries.
8 - Fourth OWI - Felony This provision would make a fourth OWI offense a felony if the driver had a previous OWI−related conviction, suspension, or revocation within the previous five−year period.
9 – Repeat Offender Absolute Sobriety If the person has three or more prior OWI−related convictions, suspensions, or revocations, the prohibited alcohol concentration is defined as an alcohol concentration of more than 0.02. This provision changes the absolute sobriety requirement to commence after a second OWI conviction.
Lisa Maroney UW Health State Legislative Liaison (608)265-1653 (608)206-5829 cell 635 Science Drive, Suite 150 Madison, WI 53711
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The Wisconsin legislation adds to the growing momentum across the country and around the world to protect everyone's right to breathe smoke-free air. The Wisconsin Legislature voted just hours after lawmakers in North Carolina approved similar legislation, which will make it the first major tobacco-growing state to prohibit smoking in all restaurants and bars. With the addition of Wisconsin and North Carolina, nearly 59 percent of Americans will be protected by strong smoke-free laws that include restaurants and bars. No one should have to put their health at risk in order to earn a paycheck or enjoy a night out.
Wisconsin joins 26 other states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico in passing smoke-free legislation that covers restaurants and bars. The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana (extends to bars Oct. 1, 2009), Nebraska (June 1, 2009), New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina (Jan. 2, 2010), Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota (July 1, 2009), Utah, Vermont and Washington. A growing number of countries have also passed nationwide smoke-free laws, including Bermuda, Bhutan, France, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Almost 7.3 million children lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused alcohol
About 2.1 million children lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused illicit drugs
5.4 million children lived with a father who met the criteria for past year substance dependence or abuse
3.4 million lived with a mother who met this criteria
The full report is available on the web at: ttp://oas.samhsa.gov/2k9/SAparents/SAparents.cfm.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Amendments to AB 253 and SB 181
*Date of implementation: July 2010 (the original bill has 60 days, this is now 14 months)
*Fine structure: Individuals caught smoking in workplaces would be fined $100-$250. Business owners are under "due diligence" principle, which means if they see a violation, ask the person to stop, stop serving the customer, and ask them to leave the premise, they will not be fined if they call the police. The owner’s first violation does not carry a fine, but each subsequent offense has a $100 fine.
*Outside smoking: The bill says smokers have to maintain a "reasonable distance" from any smoke-free building. The bill also pre-empts local governments from passing ordinances banning smoking on outdoor patios. Governments can still regulate and pass smoke-free ordinances on outdoor city property such as parks and fair grounds. Individuals businesses can also choose to have smoke-free patios.
*Tobacco retailers that receive 75% or more of their income from tobacco sales can have smoking in their business.
*Cigar bars that receive 15% or more of their income from cigar sales can have cigar smoke in their establishments, but not cigarette smoke. Cigar bars are allowed to have a liquor license. (The current established cigar bars in Wisconsin (there are aprox. 10 in the state) will be grandfathered in. SmokeFree WI and other memebers of the Holding our Breath Coalition are working on setting a specific date for the grandfathering in of these and tobacco retailers.)
*Hookah bars: Indoor smoking will not be allowed under the bill or the proposed amendment, but could be allowed if 75% or more of their sales are from tobacco.
*Hotel rooms are not exempt under the new amendment. The original bill allows for hotel owners to have up to 25% of rooms be smoking. There might be an additional amendment on this when it’s debated on the floor.
*The bill and new amendment are silent on casinos. There is not a legal way to mandate that Native American casinos become smoke free, because they are sovereign nations and the state of Wisconsin does not have jurisdiction over them.
*Nursing homes are not exempted at this time. That may change due to federal law.
*Assisted living homes are considered private residences and individual rooms can allow smoking if it is someone’s personal residence. Additionally, if two or more people share a room and all want to allow smoking, they can sign a written agreement to that effect.
*Community based treatment centers (ie for treating alcohol or drug addiction, or a mental health facility) are not exempted from the smoke-free law.
If business owners are ready to go smoke-free now we can certainly encourage businesses to go smoke-free early.
The bill is part of the legislative process and although it contains a longer implementation date and more exemptions than we would prefer, it is an indoor smoke-free air bill, which is the ultimate goal, and the compromises introduced in this bill give it a better shot at passing.
REMEMBER: The smoke-free legislation has not passed yet, and we need to work hard to make sure it passes next week. Expect quite a few amendments to be debated on the floor. In addition, the smoke-free provision in the budget will be taken out at some point, but the exact timeline is unclear.
Timeline for the SFA bill after this week:
*Tuesday May 12: The Assembly Democrats will caucus about the smoke-free bill.
*Wednesday May 13: The bill will be up for debate in both houses. They will vote on the original bill, the proposed amendment, and any other amendments proposed.
*Both the Assembly and the Senate need to pass the same bill with the same amendments in order to send it to the governor for his signature. If one house adopts an amendment and the other does not, we do not have a bill and it must be debated upon again until both houses agree on the same version.
Contact SmokeFree WI (http://www.smokefreewi.org/) if there is something specific that you want to do on the 'lobbying' end.
Otherwise, contact Emily, firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The Senate committee will be holding a hearing TODAY at 10am on SB 181 (SFA) and the Assembly wil be holding a hearing TOMORROW at 10am on AB 253 (SFA) Both bills are the same one that is in the Budget. Executive sessions to vote on the bill are scheduled for Thursday for the Senate, and Friday for the Assembly.
You can watch the hearings live on Wisconsin Eye: http://www.wiseye.org/wisEye_stream/wisEye_StreamCap2_Video.html
The SFA bill will be going to the floor to be voted upon on May 13. From there, if both versions of the bill are the same, it could become law. If the senate and house versions are different, they will have to go back and make both versions the same before it can be passed into law.
As of now, there are some questions on "outdoor exemptions," fines associated with non-compliance with the law, implementation date (60 days-1 year have been thrown around), cigarette bar amendments, tobacco retailer amendments, and hotel/b&b amendments.
I'll try to keep updating as often as new information becomes available. If there is something YOU want to do to help the cause, write a letter to the editor about the importance of a comprehensive smoke-free air law with no exemptions and no delays as it relates to the health of everyone.
As a side note, the cigarette tax is still in the budget, waiting to get voted upon. It could stay in or it could be taken out. They haven’t gotten that far into the budget yet.
Friday, May 1, 2009
This hearing will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will be in room 412 East at the Capitol if you plan to attend. Remember, if you work for any governmental agency, this is considered a lobbying event so please plan accordingly.
The bill, AB 252, is the same as the language proposed by Gov. Jim Doyle in the state budget.
A vote is being planned for May 8, and could come to the floor on May 13.
Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, D-Weston, told his caucus this week that he'd like the smoking ban in his house by May 13.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
The next steps for the stand-along bill include submitting the bill to theCommittee on Health in the Assembly and/or the Senate. I'll keep the blog updated as more information is available.
The stand-alone smoke-free bill, which is nearly identical to the smoke-free proposal in the governor's proposed budget, offer us another chance to guarantee Wisconsin passes a smoke-free law this legislative session. With a smoke-free bill as part of the budget and as stand-alone legislation, this issue won't be ignored!
If you haven't visited http://www.smokefreewi.org/ recently, check it out to see what else you could do to make sure WI is the NEXT smoke-free state! Also, letters to the editor expressing your opinion on statewide smoke-free are ALWAYS appreciated!!!
Let me know if you have questions. 920-232-3021. email@example.com
Monday, April 27, 2009
The Lead Sponsors have a committement to move this legislation along very quickly. They are hoping to introduce it into both houses before the State Budget is finalized. This means they are shooting for each house to take it up sometime in May.
ALSO, the Smoke-Free Air Bill is STILL in the Budget. As it stands right now, the language is very similar to the stand-along bill. Lawmakers are hoping that the Budget will be ready to be voted upon before the end of June.
If you want to know who your lawmaker is, visit: www.legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx
I will try to update everyone on smoke-free air as often as I can. This will be moving very quickly in the next few weeks.
For the most up-to-date information or to learn more about what you can do, visit http://www.smokefreewi.org/ or http://www.holdingourbreathwi.com/.
On a side note, I had posted last week that the Tobacco Program Funding was restored into the Budget. Here are a few more details:
*Tobacco Prevention and Control will have $30.5 million allocated to it over the 2009-2010 fiscal year.
*The restored $1.8 million will be placed into the 2009 year. Therefore, 2010 will be operating on a $900,000 cut when compared to 2008 funding levels.
*The word is not final on if the restored funding will STAY in the Budget. Now that the Joint Finance Committee has voted on it, this piece of the Budget will go to the Senate and then to the Assembly.
Visit the Legislature's home page http://www.legis.state.wi.us/ to search for details on the Budget process.
And as always, contact me with questions.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Posted on Smoke-Free Wisconsin's Blog late Thursday evening by Liz Sanger.
This just in from the Joint Finance Committee session last night: Tobacco Prevention and Control Program funding has been restoredto its current level of $15.25 million per year. (Vote: 12-4)
THANK YOU to all of you for your hard work so far.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Parents Who Host Lose the Most campaign is being conducted in partnership with Drug-Free Communities Coalition ,Oshkosh Police Department, Winneconne Police, Omro Police, Winnebago County Sheriff's Office, University of WI-Oshkosh and US Bank.
We have blanketed the community with awareness materials that educate residents on both the dangers and consequences of furnishing minors with alcohol. The community response has been impressive. College youth from the "Helping Hands" UWO volunteer group assisted Lisa Brown, Dorry Wilner and Diana Zeller April 18th where we distributed lawn signs, window clings, fact sheets, stickers and more at area businesses and residential communities.The pilot state of Ohio boasted huge gains by implementing this program. After 6 years of campaigning every spring they realized results:
42% drop in the number of youth who knew parents who hosted teen parties
36% drop in the number of youth who had attended teen parties where alcohol was served in the past 2 months
29% decrease in the number of parents surveyed who knew of other parents who served alcohol to youth.
We hope to follow their lead. We have a great start with Mayoral Proclamations stating that April is alcohol awareness month. Thanks to Bob Breu of Omro and now former mayor of Oshkosh,Frank Tower. If you are interested in viewing some role plays of community leaders engaged in conversations with youth regarding NOT serving alcohol at their grad party, please view http://youtube.com/Parentswhohost
This campaign is strategically designed for this time of year, to precede prom and graduation parties and support parents with positive strategies to celebrate their youth's achievements and milestones. (Neighboring towns in Neenah& Menasha will be served in summer when they anticipate a well attended parent athletic code meeting.)
CALL TO ACTON EVENT! For all parents of teens, teachers, coaches, youth workers, family members and concerned neighbors. Let's pull together and put a dent in the teen culture of underage drinking! See you there:
Oshkosh West High School
Monday April 27 6-7 PM
Three options that under consideration are:
*Fund the program at the governor’s recommended reduced level: $14,350,000 GPR (a reduction of $900,000 from the previous annual rate)
*Fund the program at a lower rate, $13,250,000 GPR (a total cut of $2,200,000)
*Fund the program at the previous level: $15,250,000 GPR annually (current funding)
The excise taxes and smoke free air bill are expected to come up later in the budgetary process, but before the JFC’s target end date in June.
IT IS IMPERITIVE THAT OUR LEGISLATORS KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF THE TOBACCO PREVENTION AND CONTROL PROGRAM!
You can contact your Senator or Representative to let them know about all the great things the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program does.
If you don't know who your legislators are, you can find out here:
If your legislator(s) don't serve on JFC, urge them to tell their colleagues on the Committee what you said about the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.
When you contact your Senator and Representative, don't forget to:
*Identify yourself as a constituent
*Tell them all the great things Tobacco Prevention and Control Does
* Educate them on need for continued funding and what could happen if funding is cut
*Stress the importance of tobacco control funding to improve the health of everyone, reduce health care costs and increase workplace productivity in Wisconsin.
If you'd like more information, please contact Emily Dieringer. firstname.lastname@example.org