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 - 

 

The following priorities were approved by the Governing Council on April 27, 2020: 

 

NCPHA ADVOCACY COMMITTEE PRIORITIES FOR 2019/2020

 

The Advocacy Committee recommends to the Governing Council that the following priorities be added to the NCPHA policy agenda for the 2019/2020 biennium:

  • ENDORSE North Carolina Parent Teacher Association efforts to codify a Safe Routes to School program into North Carolina statute and eliminating the limitation on state funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure as outlined in 2013’s Strategic Transportation Investment Act.
    • [BACKGROUND: Codifying the Safe Routes to School program into North Carolina statute would support the program for many years. Furthermore, eliminating the limitation on state funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, as outlined in 2013’s Strategic Transportation Investments Act (HB817), would allow existing state funds to be used for SRTS infrastructure. Currently the state’s SRTS program is being enacted using existing TAP funds and is only used for programmatic purposes in certain regions. It is critical to expand the program and ensure that local stakeholders are able to fully implement strong SRTS programs. It has been difficult for local communities, particularly rural areas, to support SRTS efforts due to cost of infrastructure. It is critical for state funds to be allocated to improve infrastructure around schools so that it is safer for students to be physically active.]

 

  • ENDORSE Amend the definition of “lead poisoning hazard” in GS 130A- 131.7 (7) g to read as follows: “Any concentration of lead in drinking water equal to or greater than 5 parts per billion. (Currently 15 parts per billion).
    • [BACKGROUND: This issue works directly to improve public health by reducing lead poisoning hazard. This hazard level (greater than or equal to 15 parts per billion) was established in the state’s childhood lead poisoning statute many years ago. However, current research indicates that the childhood hazard level should be set as close to zero as possible. Both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that the drinking water lead hazard level be set at 1 ppb (to be as close to zero as possible), and the Environmental Protection Agency has recently recommended a level of no more than 5 ppb. Three states and the District of Columbia have already adopted this standard, and many states are in the process of doing so. NC Child is working in collaboration with The Child Fatality Task Force to lead these efforts.]

 

  • SUPPORT Expanded Access to Comprehensive Prenatal Care for Undocumented Immigrant Women. The NCGA should adopt the Children’s Health Insurance Program option to provide comprehensive prenatal, labor, delivery, and immediate postpartum care to undocumented immigrant women. 
    • [BACKGROUND: This came as a recommendation from the NCIOM Risk-Appropriate Perinatal System of Care Task Force. Task Force convened in partnership with the NCDHHS, Division of Public Health, Women’s and Children’s section, to respond to Session Law 2018-93 and Goal 3E of North Carolina’s Perinatal Health Strategic Plan. The Task Force estimates, because of difference in the funding mechanism, that NC tax payers could save about $4 million with a decrease in the Hispanic IMR to 3.8/1000 or 10 babies saved.]

 

Policy Statement:  The Advocacy Committee will also work withWomen and Children’s Health Section to prepare a draft policy statement on a variety of workplace issues that would support maternal and child health, including policies that would guarantee North Carolina workers the right to pregnancy and lactation accommodations in the workplace; guarantee North Carolina workers the right to use their sick days to care for a sick loved one, seek preventative care, or deal with the physical, mental, or legal impacts of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and address paid family leave insurance in North Carolina.

 

  • Support the local health directors' $8 million appropriation request to fund the local communicable and emerging disease program for communicable disease staff in every health department. 

 

  • Support increased funding to expand the school nurse program to the goal of a public health department Registered Nurse in every school. 

 

  • Support legislation that will close the health insurance coverage gap in North Carolina and provide access to affordable coverage to the nearly 400,000 individuals living in the coverage gap. The appropriate legislation must address four key principles which are: Accessibility, Affordability, Accountability, and Economic Development. Care4Carolina will lead on this issue. 

 

  • Support discretionary funding for local public health departments to address local needs and priorities identified through processes such as the Community Health Assessment. 

 

  • Endorse a request to enhance schools’ accountability and reporting to provide quality physical education. This includes updating the State Board of Education Healthy Active Children Policy and enhancing the reporting about Physical Education in schools within this policy.  NC Alliance for Health will lead on this issue. 

 

  • Endorse a request for $1 million in recurring funds to expand the North Carolina Healthy Food Small Retailer Program. The Healthy Food Small Retailer Program taps into a community’s existing retail footprint to make healthier food options more accessible by providing equipment and technical assistance to small store owners in food deserts, allowing them to stock and sell fresh, healthy options. NC Alliance for Health will lead on this issue. 

 

  • Endorse a request for $3 million in recurring funds to expand evidence-based tobacco cessation and prevention services in North Carolina, including QuitlineNC. Additional funding is required to meet the demand of North Carolina tobacco users who want to quit. NC Alliance for Health will lead on this issue. 

 

  • Endorse a request to appropriate at least $7 million in recurring fund for tobacco use prevention programs for the 2019-20 fiscal year and at least $7 million for the same programs in the 2020-21 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. NC Alliance for Health will lead on this issue. 

 

  • Oppose privatization of State control system for the sale of liquor, or to support current control system.  Specifically, NCPHA authorizes the use of its name, to be listed along with other organizations, on a website that the NC Association of ABC Boards has developed to oppose privatization and to retain the current system of control for the retail sale of spirits.  NC Association of ABC Boards will lead on this issue. 

 

General Support 

 

Track and Monitor 

  • Gather additional information on issue of termination of Medicaid dental benefits for pregnant women, immediately postpartum
  • Gather additional information on removing exemption for state and local government employees from the social work Title Protection Law. NCPHA will work in collaboration with NASW-NC on this issue.

 

 

Click here for the Fluoridation Resolution.

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