Advocacy Days at State Capitals Resonate, Create Awareness

Earlier this month, in conjunction with Food Allergy Awareness Week and Food Allergy Action Month, FARE organized awareness days at statehouses in New York, California, Ohio and Illinois, traveling with nearly 100 members of the food allergy community to raise awareness of food allergies and to advocate for state legislation designed to improve the lives of individuals living with them. Efforts this month were focused on legislation that would allow public venues/entities to stock epinephrine for use in allergic emergencies.

[caption id="attachment_2975" align="aligncenter" width="498"]Springfield2016group FARE Advocates in Springfield, IL[/caption]

We first told you about these events earlier this month, and are pleased to provide additional updates.

  • In New York, advocates successfully obtained five new co-sponsors for the entity bill and additional co-sponsors for other food allergy related legislation. Assembly Bill 09357 remains pending.
  • In California, Sen. Bob Huff was recognized by FARE for contributions to the food allergy community. Still pending in California are bills that would expand access to life-saving epinephrine in public places (AB1386), create clear, explicit guidelines for schools on how to manage students’ food allergies (SB1258) and improve food allergy awareness in restaurants (SB1067).
  • In Ohio, State Representatives Terry Johnson and Mike Duffey were recognized for their leadership on the 2014 state law that allows schools to stock undesignated epinephrine. Still pending in Ohio is that state’s public entity epinephrine bill (HB200). The bill has passed the House, and a fourth hearing is scheduled Wednesday in the Health and Human Services Committee.
  • In Illinois, we had the opportunity to watch from the Senate Gallery as that body unanimously voted for HB4462, the state’s public entity epinephrine bill. It now goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner for signature. The group also recognized two longtime champions of access to epinephrine, Senator Chris Nybo and Representative Michelle Mussman.

In addition to legislative meetings, each group met with representatives of the state agencies responsible for implementing laws that allow stock epinephrine in schools, to discuss strategies to increase the number of schools who choose to do so.  Each of the four events was led by a member of FARE’s education and advocacy team.  FARE expects to organize similar events next year in selected states.