Friday, October 14, 2011

AEDs + CPR = Lives Saved

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10/14/2011

Earlier this week we told you the story of a Texas 7th grader that collapsed at school but was saved with use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). You can see more on that story in the blog post below.

The American Heart Association supports public access to AEDs and has fought to get them in schools across the country. Administering CPR/AED can more than double a victim’s chance of survival. Sadly, not all incidents turn out as well Kylee’s in the story below. When an AED is not within reach the results can turn tragic. Please view this video that shows what can happen when a child collapses and no AED is around.


Note: This is a personal video and the American Heart Association was not involved in its production.

We need to let lawmakers know that every school should be equipped with an AED and CPR training should be a component. You can click here to tell your elected officials that CPR/AED programs work and that every student should know how to use these lifesaving methods.

P.S. Residents in AR, NM, OK, TX, and WY will be able to take action on the link above. If you reside outside of those areas you can log into www.yourethecure.org to see important issues in your state.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CPR/AED Saves Life of Texas 7th Grader

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10/11/2011

The life of a Texas 7th Grader was recently saved by 2 alert teachers and the use of CPR and an Automated External Defibrillator.  Here is video of the news story. 



In 2007 the American Heart Association helped pass a law that requires an AED in every school in the state. We know that CPR + AEDs = Saved Lives which is why we support AED placement in all public places and CPR training for everyone.

One of our main priorities will be to have all students trained in CPR so they can have the power to save a life. Heart attacks can occur anywhere, and when they do CPR and AEDs can dramatically increase the chance of survival. Help us educate lawmakers on this issue and let them know all students should know CPR.

Click Here to tell Lawmakers in your state to support CPR/AEDs in school.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Smoke-Free Texas: Slim to None

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6/24/11

And Slim may have just left town...

With the Special Session winding to a close prospects aren’t looking good for smoke-free workplace legislation. For a realistic chance of getting the smoke-free bill passed into law, it needed to have been passed by either the House or Senate today. Both the House and Senate have adjourned without taking action on it.

There is an outside chance the Senate will consider this bill on Monday so we’ll see what happens then. But there were plenty of positives throughout the session, especially on the House side. The smoke-free bill was passed from committee 8-2, it had around 80 co-authors and was eventually passed by the House as an amendment.

I encourage you to check out the debate on the smoke-free amendment. House and Senate rules don’t allow us to post floor debate video from their archives, but you can watch it on your own. Just follow these instructions:

*You Must have Real Player to View*

1. Go to http://www.house.state.tx.us/video-audio/chamber/,

2. Find the date that says 5/20/2011 and click on the link that says 1:30pm-1:09am.

3. This video covers over 11 hours for floor action. The smoke-free debate begins at the 7:41:25 mark and ends at 8:47:26.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Smoke-Free Texas: Is Today the Day?

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6/22/2011


The Texas Senate could take up and consider the smoke-free workplace law as soon as today. A version of this bill was passed from the Texas House during the Regular Session but was defeated by a Senate panel in the final hours of the session.

The Special Session has given new life to this issue but the clock is ticking – the Special Session can’t go past next Wednesday. In short, we need the Senate to pass this measure today for a realistic chance of it becoming law.

You can click here to email Texas lawmakers asking them to support smoke-free workplaces.

If it is passed by the Senate today, it would still need to clear the House. I will be providing updates here throughout the day and will live blog if there is debate on the smoke-free bill.

Brian Bowser

Update: 9:50  am

The Senate goes in at 2pm today, so nothing will happen before then.  On Monday the Senate Health and Human Services committee passed the bill 5-4.  The 5 YES votes were:

Chair Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)
Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso)
Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio)
Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas)
Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo)

The 4 No votes were:

Sen. Robert Deuell (R-Greenville)
Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Southside Place)
Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville)
Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston)

Update 2:17 pm

Senate should convene soon.  We've heard the bill concerning the Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency  could come up, but the Smoke-Free bill could also come up.  We are in wait and see mode.  If you're by a TV in Austin you can watch it on channel 22 (Time Warner Cable).  If you have Grande or another provider just try all of the local community access channels. 

Or stream it from here: http://www.senate.state.tx.us/bin/live.php

Update 3:35 pm

Senator Carona is laying out his TWIA bill which will reform the Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency.  This issue is one of the primary reasons for the Special Session.

We have heard several Senators that support Smoke-Free Texas are not in Austin today, making a vote on smoke-free less likely today. 

Update 4:05 pm


Several Senators have officially been excused from today's session due to important business in their district.  It’s important that this bill be heard and voted on by a majority of Senators so the question will not be called today.

This severely weakens the chance of passing the smoke-free bill during this special session.  There is still a chance it could come up at the end of the week or over the weekend so stay tuned to this blog and sign up to get breaking news alerts here:  http://www.yourethecure.org/.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Status Quo Remains for PE and Health

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6/20/2011

Last Thursday was a big day for PE and Health in Texas schools. Two bills were being debated that dealt with school curriculum and there were opportunities to both improve and weaken PE and Health courses. In the end no major changes were passed and the status quo will remain largely intact.

An effort was made to increase the high school graduation requirement for PE by a half credit. We supported this effort lead by Rep. Carol Alvarado. Representatives Jason Isaac and Eddie Lucio III were also key champions that almost turned the House in favor of supporting this increase for PE. You can watch the video below to view the debate and click here to thank lawmakers that voted YES on increasing PE.


Watch live video from yourethecuretx on Justin.tv

In the end the House voted 73-65 against increasing PE by a half credit in high school. But click on the link to thank our champions and your House member if he or she voted YES.

Luckily no attempts were made that would have weakened PE and Health standards. You’re efforts in the past weeks helped educated members about the importance of Coordinated School Health plans, Physical Fitness Assessments, and the importance of PE and Health in school.

We will continue to work towards improving the quality and quantity of PE and Health programs in Texas and appreciate your continued support.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Texas Senate Must Act Now

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06/15/2011

Yesterday the Smoke-Free Texas Coalition (of which the American Heart Association is a part of) released the following statement regarding smoke-free legislation. 
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Texas Senate Must Act Now to Ensure Passage of  Smoke-Free Law in 2011

Coalition urges immediate action by Health and Human Services Committee on Senate Bill 28

AUSTIN – The Smoke-Free Texas Coalition and numerous other supporters of smoke-free workplace legislation are actively urging members of the Senate Health and Human Service Committee to take immediate action on SB 28, legislation proposing a statewide law to eliminate smoking in indoor areas of bars and restaurants across the state. The bill, authored by Senator Rodney Ellis, was referred on Monday, June 13 to the Committee.

HB 46 – the companion bill filed by Representative Myra Crownover – passed out of the House Appropriations Committee 19-1 on Saturday, June 4. The Health and Human Services Committee must take a vote on SB 28 before there is any further movement on HB 46.

“The support and rapid action by the Texas Senate is critical to the successful passage of a statewide smoke-free law in 2011,” said Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, Smoke-Free Texas supporter and founder and chairman of the Cooper Clinic. “Before HB 46 can move any further, the Senate must step up and do their part by considering this legislation that is vital to the health of Texas employees and customers.”

A smoke-free workplace law will save thousands of lives and millions of dollars for Texans, including $31 million in taxpayer dollars for the 2012-2013 biennium by eliminating the Medicaid costs that result from exposure to secondhand smoke in bars and restaurants.

In addition, there is widespread support for this legislation from numerous organizations, business groups, musicians, faith leaders and everyday Texans from across the political spectrum. A January 2011 survey of Texas voters conducted by Baselice and Associates found that 70 percent of those surveyed support a smoke-free workplace law that prohibits smoking in all indoor workplaces and public facilities. The poll also revealed that 63 percent of those surveyed indicated they would be more likely to vote for a state legislator who supported a comprehensive smoke-free workplace law.

“There is clearly strong support from Texans for a smoke-free workplace law,” said Dr. Cooper. “The Senate owes these Texans a vote on this issue and must make this a priority in the special session.”

Thousands of Texans are directly or indirectly affected by the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure in the workplace. Without a statewide smoke-free workplace law, millions of Texans will never be protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure.

“Texas is closer than ever to passing this legislation thanks to the tireless work and dedication of many of our state’s leaders and others who have actively voiced their support for this legislation over the past several months,” said Dr. Cooper. “Now is the time for the Senate to take action to ensure this life-saving legislation is passed in Texas.”

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Smoke-Free Texas is a broad coalition of organizations who believe all Texas employees have the right to breathe clean indoor air. Because science tells us that secondhand smoke kills, we support a statewide law to protect Texans from the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure in the workplace. Our members include the American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, LIVESTRONG and the Texas Parent Teacher Association. Visit our website for more information at www.smokefreetexas.org. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter at www.Facebook.com/SmokeFreeTexas and www.Twitter.com/SmokeFreeTexas.




Tuesday, June 14, 2011

All Eyes on Texas Senate

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06/14/2011

Yesterday afternoon the smoke-free workplace proposal was sent to the Senate Health and Human Services committee which now must take fast action to beat the clock of the current “Special Session”. After swiftly being passed by a House committee all eyes are now on the Senate to pass this lifesaving bill.

Please click here to support Smoke-Free Texas today!

The good news is that we have a hearing scheduled….the unfortunate news is that it has been scheduled for next Monday, June 20, which will put the bill in serious jeopardy due to time considerations.

The Special Session cannot last longer than 30 days but can be (and often is) cut shorter than that by the Governor. Time is of the essence as the clock is ticking on the Special Session meaning fast action is critical.

We are trying to secure the support of every legislator and key state leaders like the Governor and Lt. Governor who can help push this issue forward.

Help us keep the pressure on by taking action on the link above and sharing this short link with friends and on twitter: http://bit.ly/iHYqGL.

Thanks for your continued help!

Brian Bowser
Grassroots Coordinator

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Texas Senate: Tag, You’re It

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06/08/2011

On Saturday morning a House committee approved the Smoke-Free workplace bill 19-1, now it’s time for the Senate to act. While it might seem like a game of tag under the Capitol dome, time is running out if the Senate doesn’t act fast. There has been no movement on this issue from the Senate since the start of the Special Session.

Click here to tell Lt. Governor Dewhurst and Texas Lawmakers to take up and consider smoke-free workplace legislation, now!

In fact, over the last six years, the Texas Senate has never voted on this issue. Not even once. Outside of a handful of Senators that have spoken out publically, 31 of the most powerful people in Texas have never taken a position on the most pressing health issue in our state.

Removing secondhand smoke from workplaces would reduce heart disease and stroke in our state while saving taxpayers at least $31 million in Medicaid expenses every two years.

The entire House and Senate still need to vote on this issue before the special session comes to an end. Take action using the link above to tell lawmakers the time is now for Smoke-Free Texas.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Austin American Statesman Endorses Smoke-Free Texas

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6/7/2011

The Austin American Statesman ran an editorial in today’s edition once again supporting efforts to make Texas workplaces smoke-free. You can check out the piece by clicking here. This is just another in the long line of endorsements and positive editorials from major Texas periodicals. Here’s a segment, but click on the link above for the whole piece and tell us what you think in the comments section.

An indoor smoking ban does not outlaw smoking, as opponents are fond of claiming. Furthermore, smoking indoors is not a "right" despite assertions to the contrary. And even it were, that "right" would have to be balanced against the rights of others to breathe clean air.

A growing number of Texas municipalities, including Austin, have long since adopted indoor smoking bans. San Angelo voters — among the most conservative in the state — approved an indoor smoking ban by a whopping 60 percentage points when 30 percent of the city's registered voters participated in a 2010 referendum.

So the science supports a smoking ban, and so do Texans if given a voice and a choice.

Update 06/08/2011

This morning the San Antonio Express-News followed suite with a positive editorial. They specifically mention one state Senator that lead the efforts to derail the bill during the Regular Session.:


The opposition of Sen. Deuell is tragic for public health.
Express-News Editorial Board
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

As a physician, state Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, is certainly familiar with the dictum that comes from ancient Latin, “First, do no harm.” If only he would follow that dictum when the Legislature is in session.

Last month, lawmakers in Austin had an opportunity to finally pass a measure that bans smoking in most Texas bars and restaurants. More than 30 Texas cities, including San Antonio, have comprehensive smoke-free ordinances.

A statewide ban would establish uniform standards that protect the health of workers and the public. It would also bring Texas into line with 29 other states with comprehensive smoking bans. During a session marked by budget concerns, the smoking ban carried a bottom-line benefit.

According to the fiscal analysis attached to the measure, the statewide ordinance could save the state $31 million in Medicaid costs during the next biennium. Supporters of the measure claim the savings would actually be in the hundreds of millions.

Yet Deuell led efforts among House and Senate conferees to strip the smoking ban from a state spending bill. He justified his opposition by stating he had constitutional issues with a statewide law. That’s hard to fathom, especially for a family practitioner who has undoubtedly seen the health consequences of secondhand smoke.

Read the rest here: http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/editorials/article/Lege-should-pass-smoking-ban-bill-1414095.php#ixzz1OhwkCjhU

Monday, June 6, 2011

Smoke-Free Takes a Step

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6/6/2011

Over the weekend a House committee approved the smoke-free workplace proposal that you’ve helped us fight for over the last five months. The committee voted 19-1 to pass this measure which would remove smoking from all bars and restaurants in the state.

Thanks to everyone who took action on Friday and Saturday before the committee vote. If you didn’t take action you can still ask your lawmakers to support Smoke-Free Texas by clicking here.

You’ve helped us come this far, now help us finish the job. With less time to work during this Special Session we will need fast action from both the House and Senate. The time is now to take smoking outside and save thousands of lives and millions of dollars associated with secondhand smoke. Thanks again for your support, and stay tuned for more on Smoke-Free Texas.

Sincerely,

Brian Bowser
Grassroots Coordinator

Smoke-Free Texas: Staying Alive

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6/3/2011

A Special Legislative Session in Texas has given new life to the smoke-free workplace proposal that you’ve helped us fight for over the last five months. Yesterday the smoke-free bill was filed in both the Texas House and Senate and could be heard in a Committee as soon as tomorrow.

Help us capitalize on this new opportunity by telling lawmakers that the time is now to take smoking outside and reduce the heart disease and stroke associated with secondhand smoke. Click here to take action today!

You helped us pass this measure from the House in late May. However, that measure was not adopted by the Senate. Now, we have another chance to convince lawmakers that everyone deserve a smoke-free workplace.

If you think lawmakers should try to save thousands of lives and millions of dollars in health costs by asking smokers to step outside, click on the link above and ask for a Smoke-Free workplace law in Texas.

Sincerely,

Brian Bowser
Grassroots Coordinator

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dollars and Sense: Heart Disease Prevention in the State Budget

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You know that heart disease is the number one killer of Texans and with just a small investment in prevention we can save countless lives and millions of dollars. Two of the main risk factors for heart disease and stroke are tobacco use and obesity. Prevention programs have proven to save dollars, and they just make sense.

Click here to tell lawmakers to consider Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in the state budget.

In January programs that help prevent tobacco use and obesity were zeroed out in the state budget proposal for the next two years. In the latest proposal funding for those programs were partially restored at about half their current levels.

Lawmakers could vote on this proposal as soon as later today or tomorrow. We want to show our support for these programs being partially restored, but also ask that they be fully restored in future years.

P.S. Smoke-Free Texas Update: The smoke-free measure has been passed the House, but not the Senate. There is still time to urge Senators to support this measure: please click here to do so!

Thanks!
0 comments
You know that heart disease is the number one killer of Texans and with just a small investment in prevention we can save countless lives and millions of dollars. Two of the main risk factors for heart disease and stroke are tobacco use and obesity. Prevention programs have proven to save dollars, and they just make sense.


Click here to tell lawmakers to consider Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in the state budget.

In January programs that help prevent tobacco use and obesity were zeroed out in the state budget proposal for the next two years. In the latest proposal funding for those programs were partially restored at about half their current levels.

Lawmakers could vote on this proposal as soon as later today or tomorrow. We want to show our support for these programs being partially restored, but also ask that they be fully restored in future years.

P.S. Smoke-Free Texas Update: The smoke-free measure has been passed the House, but not the Senate. There is still time to urge Senators to support this measure: please click here to do so!

Thanks!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Moving Day in the House

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5/12/2011

Today is moving day in the Texas House of Representatives meaning move your bill or go home. All House bills that don’t pass by midnight tonight will be dead in their current form. So what does that mean for issues concerning heart disease and stroke? A couple things…

1. Smoke-Free Texas: HB 670 which is the comprehensive smoke-free workplaces law is on the calendar today, about 100 bills down the list. Depending on how fast lawmakers work and pass bills ahead of it there is an outside chance of getting to HB 670 tonight. But if they run out of time, all is not lost. Smoke-Free bill author Myra Crownover has indicated she will try to amend another bill to include smoke-free bars and restaurants in Texas.

Either way lawmakers will have a chance to vote on smoke-free workaplces and we need them to vote YES. Click here to take action now.

2. PE and Health in Schools: Efforts to reduce PE and Health Standards were made in HB 400. This bill is ahead of the smoke-free legislation and will likely be heard before the midnight deadline tonight. Our message is to oppose amendments to HB 400 that will weaken PE and Health in schools. Click here to take action now.

3. Trans Fats in Schools: The bill that will remove trans-fats from school cafeterias has been passed by the Texas Senate and is now awaiting approval from a House committee. Because it has already been passed by the Senate, it doesn’t face the same midnight deadline. But the clock is still ticking and we need to move it quickly from the committee to the House floor. Click here to take action now.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

HB 400 Delayed another Day

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05/10/2011

HB 400 which is a massive public education bill has been delayed another day. Attempts have been made during debate on this bill to remove PE and Health requirements in Texas schools. It wasn’t debated yesterday, but could come up as early as this afternoon.

Please continue your calls and emails to your State Representative and tell them to vote against any amendments that would weaken PE, Health, and Nutrition standards in our school.

Click here to send and email and go here to look up your State Representative: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/

See the below blog postings for more information on this issue.

Thanks!

5/11/2011 Update

Same story, different day.  HB 400 has been postponed once again.  It has now been scheduled for Thursday, May 12.  Thursday is also the deadline for this bill to pass the House floor, so we'll know something definitive by the end of Thursday.  Please continue to keep the calls and email coming in!

Brian Bowser
Grassroots Coordinator
brian.bowser@heart.org

Monday, May 9, 2011

Save PE in Texas – Call You’re State Representative

3 comments
It’s not too late to help save PE in Texas schools. Late Friday night efforts were made in the Texas House to severely reduce PE and Health requirements in Texas schools. The American Heart Association is fighting these efforts and needs help from you!


HB 400 is a large education bill dealing with many aspects of public school in Texas. During floor debate attempts were made to take out important Health and PE requirements that are currently law.

The good news is that debate was stopped on Friday night and the bad amendments were taken away. The bad news is that debate will resume today and more attempts to weaken PE will likely resume.

Please call your State Representative and tell them to vote against any amendment in HB 400 that would weaken PE, Health, or Nutrition standards. You can look up your legislator at: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/

Here are some talking points.

-Please vote against any amendments in HB 400 that will reduce PE, Health, or Nutrition standards in public schools

-Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. We need to increase PE efforts right now, not reduce them

-Supporting amendments to weaken PE or Health would represent a major step backwards in our fight to reduce childhood obesity in Texas.

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You can also follow up your phone call with an email. Plesae click here to send an email to your lawmaker: http://www.yourethecure.org/composeletters_open.aspx?AlertID=20699

P.S. Please email me if you call your Lawmaker so we can track our progress.  Thanks!!

Brian.Bowser@heart.org

Sunday, May 8, 2011

PE in Texas Under Attack

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On Friday night drastic measures were taken in the Texas House that would severely weaken Physical Education and Health in Texas schools. Over the years the American Heart Association has fought hard to strengthen the quality and quantity of PE in schools. However, several measures were passed last night that would undue much of that work.

Please call your State Representative and tell him/her to vote against any proposals that would weaken PE, Health, or Nutrition requirements in public schools. Here is a direct link to look up legislators and their Austin phone numbers:

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/

You can also send an email: Click here to send an email.

Background:

Lawmakers are currently debating HB 400 a large school accountability bill. This bill is being amended to weaken PE standards in schools. Here is a recap on what is happening:

1. Physical Fitness Assessments have been removed. You helped us pass the Fitness Assessment bill in 2007 which (anonymously) tracks the physical fitness of all students. An amendment was passed that removed this Assessment.

2. Coordinated School Health programs could also be eliminated. Coordinator School Health Programs help improve academic performance by combining many educational components like: PE, Health, Nutrition, Tobacco education, Counseling, and Safe School Environments into a coordinated action plan. This program is vital for improving the health, behavior, and academic success of our students.

3. Other attempts to reduce PE and Health will likely come as debate on HB 400 continues.

Please take action and tell your lawmakers to support PE and Health in schools and vote against any attempts to weaken them in HB 400. Please email me if you are able to make a  call.

Thanks for your support!

Brian Bowser
Grassroots Coordinator
brian.bowser@heart.org

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