Advocacy

Why is Advocacy Important?

The North Carolina Public Health Association has led efforts to improve the public's health through advocating for resources and policies to promote a healthy society. In this time of public health challenges and limited budgets, NCPHA is working to ensure the needs of public health are met. NCPHA influences policies and sets priorities on a broad set of issues, including:
  • Children's health
  • Primary care
  • Health disparities
  • Access to care
  • Public health infrastructure
  • Funding for public health programs
  • Environmental health
  • Disease control
  • Tobacco control

NCPHA members and staff work with State Legislators and Members of Congress, regulatory agencies and other public health organizations to ensure that public health is priority in the legislative and policy-making process.

How Can I Influence Policy?

Every citizen can advocate on behalf of public health. Those employed in government should forward messages to their State Legislators and Members of Congress after business hours and use only personal stationary, email addresses, and personal telephone.

To learn more about the structure of the North Carolina General Assembly, how an idea becomes law and directions to the General Assembly building, please go the NC General Assembly Citizen Guide or click here to find your representative.

To follow legislation or to obtain contact information on each legislator, you can also access that information on the main General Assembly website.

To obtain information relative to the US Congress, go to www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

If you are interested in writing a letter to an elected official but not sure how to address them?  Check out our Protocol Cheat Sheet.  It includes information on how to address (both in person and in writing) local, state, national, and judicial officials. 

 

NCPHA Legislative Initiatives - Legislative results for each priority are listed below in blue italics.

Policy Priorities for 2017

1.  Proposed Legislation:  $1 million recurring appropriation for the Healthy Corner Store Initiative

In the 2016 legislative session $250,000 was appropriated to create a statewide HCSI in North Carolina. This program will promote the elimination of food deserts, which would lead to an increase in the amount of healthy food being offered in existing small retail stores in low- and moderate-income communities. $1 million in recurring funding would ensure the initiative continues to grow, reaching communities across the state. NC Alliance for Health is leading this effort. This program was funded with an additional $250,000.
ADVOCACY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT WE SUPPORT BUT DON’T LEAD.

2.  Proposed Legislation:  Inclusion of Physical Education in the NC School Report Card-ESSA/PE

Ensure that Physical Education (PE) is included as an indicator in the state's accountability plan, that the General Assembly makes statutory changes necessary to align state and federal School Report Card requirements, and work with local school districts to secure funding for physical education, health education, and physical activity programs available through block grants to states under Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). NC Alliance for Health is leading this effort. Physical Education was not included in the accountability measures that North Carolina filed with the federal government.
ADVOCACY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT WE SUPPORT BUT DON’T LEAD.

3.  Proposed Legislation: Education efforts for Policymakers on Closing the Insurance Coverage Gaps in North Carolina.

Support Care4Carolina’s efforts to educate state policymakers on the issue of the uninsured in the state and the impact it has on overall state health and the state economy.

C4C supports seeking a North Carolina strategy for closing the coverage gap for all North Carolina citizens earning at or below 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, in accordance with provisions of the federal law.
HB 662, Carolina Cares, was introduced by a group of Republican legislators.  The bill did not move in 2017 but is eligible for consideration in 2018.  
ADVOCACY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT WE SUPPORT BUT DON’T LEAD.

4.  Proposed Legislation:  Remove exemption for state and local government employees from the Social Work Title Protection Law.

The SW Title Protection Law created in 2009 stipulates that no one can have the words social worker in their job title without a social work degree unless they work for state or local government.  This exemption was initiated and supported by the NC Department of Social Services Directors and was necessary for the legislation to pass.   The Social Work Section of NCPHA would like to see the exemption removed from the law. The National Association of Social Workers-NC is leading this effort to advocate for the expansion and hiring of professionally degreed social workers into the State of North Carolina Social Work Classification Series to meet the increasing need of services and supports. Require licensure or certification if necessary.
This issue did not move this past session.
ADVOCACY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT WE SUPPORT NASW-NC BUT DON’T LEAD.

5.  Proposed Legislation: Remove prohibition for use of state funding for Needle Exchange Program.

Current NC law prohibits the use of state funds for the Needle Exchange Program.  This limits the ability of local public health departments to be involved in the exchange program. The NC Harm reduction Coalition, who lead efforts to enact the Needle Exchange Law will be working to remove this prohibition.
Legislation did pass that will remove this prohibition.
ADVOCACY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT WE SUPPORT NCHRC EFFORTS BUT DON’T LEAD.

6.  Proposed Legislation: Update Current Rabies Control Laws in North Carolina. The 2016 National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control was published on March 1, 2016 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  The compendium is the authoritative document for rabies control and prevention and is used as the reference for North Carolina rabies statutes and rules.  The compendium makes significant changes to rabies post-exposure management recommendations. Adoption or incorporation of these changes into current law (N.C.G.S. 130A-197) would potentially result in:  Improved guidance for local health director on the management of actual and/or suspected rabies exposures; allow for the efficient and effective management of animals suspected of having been exposed to rabies (e.g. fewer animals euthanized; and, more never vaccinated dogs and cats placed under quarantine (not euthanized) for shorter period of time – 4 months); and, a decreased financial burden to pet owners.
This legislation did pass in 2017.
ADVOCACY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT WE SUPPORT DPH EFFORTS BUT DON’T LEAD.

7.  Proposed Legislation: Support a $3 million request to expand evidence-based tobacco cessation and prevention services in North Carolina –including QuitlineNC – for which the state currently spends $1,100,000 a year. Additional funding is required to meet the demand of North Carolina tobacco users who want to quit. Because smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD), this request should also reduce CVD rates in the state and improve the health of North Carolinians.
$500,000 was appropriated for smoking cessation efforts in 2017.  These funds are to be split between Quitline NC and You Quit, Two Quit.
ADVOCACY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT WE SUPPORT NC ALLIANCE FOR HEALTH EFFORTS BUT DON’T LEAD.

8.  Proposed Legislation: Support a request to appropriate at least $7 million for tobacco use prevention programs for the 2017-18 fiscal year and at least $7 million for the same programs in the 2018-19 fiscal year. An appropriation of $7 million per fiscal year is the absolute minimum amount required to ensure these evidence-based programs are effective in reducing teen tobacco use in North Carolina.
$500,000 was appropriated for youth tobacco use prevention efforts in 2017 budget.
ADVOCACY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT WE SUPPORT NC ALLIANCE FOR HEALTH EFFORTS BUT DON’T LEAD.

9.  NCPHA will monitor, track and recommend action on a variety of other proposals as they are introduced in the legislative process. We will be especially watchful for any bills introduced as REGULATORY REFORM.

10.  Support preserving public health funding at the federal, state and local levels.

 


Click here for the Fluoridation Resolution.

Click here for link to the NCPH Environmental Health Section Position Statements.