Our State Supports Healthy Communities

May 7, 2019 by

Our State Supports Healthy Communities

The Washington State Legislature Supports Healthy Communities!

Just before midnight on April 28th, the legislature adjourned the 2019 legislative on time. It was a strong year for advancing healthy communities and we wanted to provide a summary of some key wins. For details please see the complementary Bill & Budget tracker.

We continue to make inroads into sectors outside health as we try to live up to the “health in all places” framework. Just look at the various state agencies that we tracked for budget investments outside of the health arena: Agriculture, Commerce, Conservation Commission, Corrections, Children, Youth & Families, Social & Health Services, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Recreation and Conservation Office, State Parks, Traffic Safety Commission and the Department of Transportation. The various budgets tell the tale of this legislative session that will support greater health equity across our state:

Operating Budget

This big story was that we supported the Anti-Hunger and Nutrition Coalition to garner $2.5 million for fruit and vegetable incentives for families with limited incomes. These are the initial investments by our state in the program which will be critical in leveraging additional federal and private investments. A related goal was to seek state support for IT infrastructure that would enable SNAP beneficiaries to have such healthy food incentive placed on their EBT food benefit card. We are still working with DSHS to get cost estimates of this fix so we can plan our future strategy for this priority.

Gov. Inslee signs Substitute House Bill No. 1587, April 29, 2019. Relating to increasing access to fruits and vegetables for individuals with limited incomes. Primary Sponsor: Marcus Riccelli

Gov. Inslee signs Substitute House Bill No. 1587, April 29, 2019. Relating to increasing access to fruits and vegetables for individuals with limited incomes. Primary Sponsor: Marcus Riccelli

Capital Budget

We successfully made the case that the Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools grant program be renewed for another round of funding. A robust $3.25 million will be given out to schools across the state for kitchen and physical education equipment as well as water bottle filling stations.
Other importance infrastructure that supports active living included funding for:

  • Youth athletic fields
  • Youth recreational projects
  • State parks
  • WA Wildlife & Recreation program
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Students use a water bottle filling station at their school

Transportation Budget

Our legislature continued investments in both the Bike & Pedestrian and Safe Routes to School projects, making active transportation an integral piece in the overall transportation picture.

Deerborn-Before-After

A Safe Routes to School-funded project before and after improvements, Deerborn Park Elementary School

Thanks to all of you for your good ideas, your support and advocacy. We cannot achieve these victories without your active engagement!

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