We are so excited to roll out New Futures' first newsletter! With this digest, we hope to keep you informed about the health policy issues facing our state and help you stay engaged to keep the Granite State healthy. In the year to come, we will be working on a variety of important issues (*keep reading to find out!), and your voice will be crucial to make policy change! To stay informed and organized, check out the sections of our newsletter:
Policy Look Ahead: 2020 Campaign Announcement
Community Engagement Corner
Upcoming Events and Opportunities
In the News
We are looking forward to another great year of working to keep the Granite State a healthy place to live, work and raise a family. Now let's get into it. Happy reading!
With e-cigarette illnesses surging and recent data showing dramatic increases in Granite State youth tobacco use to levels higher than any other state, we are prioritizing raising the tobacco sales age to 21. Twenty-one is the evidence based age that supports prevention, healthy development and long-term health and safety of Granite State youth. Tobacco 21, among other critical youth tobacco control policies, will help keep our youth safe and healthy.
Between 2014 and 2019, the average cost of all prescription drugs increased 32% while inflation only increased 9.7% over that time. Some Granite Staters with common conditions, such as diabetes or arthritis, are hit even harder with increases of at least 60%. We are working on policies to address affordability, accessibility and transparency within the pharmaceutical industry to ensure Granite Staters can afford the medications necessary to keep them alive and healthy.
Building strong children and families is how we build a strong foundation for New Hampshire's futures. To ensure all Granite State children are healthy now and in the future, we are working on policies that make proper investment in childhood initiatives, such as increasing access to healthy foods, robust family services through Medicaid and increased access to high quality childcare and family resource centers.
of our 2019 Policy Priorities
Thanks to your hard work, we made significant strides forward in the 2019 legislative session to advance the health and wellness of the Granite State. Some of the policy wins included:
HB 481 would have fully commercialized the retail sale of marijuana and all high potency marijuana products without regard for the health of our youth and communities. Youth marijuana use, when young brains are developing, can have long-term negative health effects and can increase risk for substance misuse later in life. Thanks to you the Senate Judiciary Committee voted Interim Study earlier this month, effectively preventing the bill from coming back during the 2020 session. The full Senate will vote on that recommendation in January.
SB 274 removes barriers to accessing Medicaid home visiting, a critical program that provides supports and services to families and children in their own homes, where they are most comfortable. This bill, which was signed into law over the summer, will allow more children and parents access to quality home visiting services, which supports and strengthens families and enables us all to thrive.
SB 308 takes a comprehensive approach to addressing NH’s health care workforce shortage, which negatively impacts the state economy and is preventing Granite Staters from getting the health care they need. Thanks to your advocacy and presence at events like the Health Care Workforce Rally, many of the provisions were passed as part of other bills and funding to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates was written into the state budget.
New Futures has partnered with Kearsarge High School to offer an Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) class to high school students for the 2019/2020 school year focused on advocacy. ELO classes are meant to provide hands-on, real-world learning experiences for students outside of the classroom. During the first half of the school year, students have been learning about NH’s unique legislature, how to be an effective advocate, and the power of their voice. Starting in January, they will be putting what they learned into practice by selecting a bill and advocating on it throughout the legislative session!
Through our work in advocacy, we understand that funding restrictions often prevent meaningful participation in policy and advocacy efforts. That said, New Futures Kids Count is excited to announce new Field Grant opportunitiesto early childhood coalition partners and others for the 2020 legislative session.
The Field Grants will be awarded to support coalition participation and individual advocacy in the early childhood community. With these grants, New Futures hopes to increase participation and engagement from regional partners, increasing the profile of early childhood issues in the New Hampshire Legislature and across the state.
We have a lot of work ahead of us next year to promote health and wellness in New Hampshire. During the 2020 legislative session, we need your help to advocate for policies that will:
Support vulnerable children and strengthen families by increasing access to quality and affordable child care, family support and strengthening programs, resources for child protection, home visiting programs, and nutrition assistance programs;
Help lower the cost of health care and prescription drug, and increase access to effective, evidence-based health programs;
Protect young children and communities from the harms of tobacco addiction and marijuana commercialization;
Increase access to critical substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery programs;
Reduce barriers to testifying and engaging in the legislative process;