We Did It! Two Legislative Priority Bills pass!
An ambience of sadness and loss permeated this year’s Sine Die —the last day of the 90-day, Maryland General Assembly Session—as we processed the loss of Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch, a true health care champion. It is fitting that we made so much progress this year.
This year marked my first session as the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s Government Relations Director in Maryland. I am encouraged by the progress I have seen during my short time here, and the increased energy around fighting cancer.
Through our various action alert and social media pushes, we made sure all legislators knew the position of the ACS CAN community on bills important to us and that citizens across the state were well informed and could contact their elected officials.
We passed our two priority bills which will prohibit minors under the age of 18 from using tanning devicesand prohibit retail stores from selling tobacco products to youth under the age of 21. We also advocated for and achieved additional funding for Maryland’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Program (BCCDT) and maintained funding for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP). During the session, we urged our supporters to speak up regarding our various priorities – and so many of you did. You collectively contacted your lawmakers over 562 times through email and phone calls on our priority bills, many of you attended and testified in hearings or lobbied your legislators at the ACS CAN MD Day At the Capitol event, and you shared and liked posts related to our priority bills over 26,000 times on Facebook and Twitter!
Our advocates have been an essential part of our work this year, and your role has never been more important in saving lives in the fight against cancer. Your calls, emails, and visits to your elected officials are the backbone of our vital work to hold our members of the MD General Assembly accountable for keeping cancer issues a top priority. The engagement of so many young people in this year’s legislative action has been especially inspiring. We can’t thank you enough for being American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network advocates and members.