Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Holding Our Breath For Smoke-free Air!

It's official! Today is the launch of the Holding Our Breath campaign. SmokeFree Wisconsin is joining with key health and business partners across the state to support strong smoke-free workplace legislation for all workers and residents in Wisconsin, including in restaurants and bars.

We want you to join us! Tell your legislators we've been "holding our breath" long enough. Click here to take action or visit the new campaign website at

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is South Dakota next?

Austin just reported on 2 newly smoke-free states to our west - we just got word that South Dakota might be the next state to join the list! Yesterday, the South Dakota House of Representatives passed House Bill 1240 (the smoke-free bill) by 43-27. The bill now moves to their Senate for debate. Congrats to the smoke-free advocates in South Dakota!

Western states protecting their citizens

Congratulations are in order for Utah and Oregon. On January 1st, 2009 both states took big steps to protect all workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Oregon implemented a 100% smoke-free workplace law (including bars and restaurants), and Utah's 100% smoke-free bar provision took effect.

Hopefully, in a few short months Wisconsin can join them! To see the latest news on Governor Doyle's proposed budget (and the 100% smoke-free workplaces proposal and cigarette tax increase), check out SmokeFree's updated news page and legislation page.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Great Day for Wisconsin's Health

Governor Jim Doyle last night delivered some great news. Doyle announced his proposed budget for 2009-2011, and smoke-free supporters statewide have reason to celebrate. Included in the bill are two major tobacco control provisions:

* A comprehensive smoke-free law that will make every workplace and public place in the state smoke-free. The proposal is strong: it includes a 60-day implementation period and no exemptions.
* A 75-cent increase on every pack of cigarettes sold in Wisconsin.

If passed, these laws will improve health, save lives, and reduce tobacco-related healthcare costs. But the proposed budget is just that: proposed. Which means SmokeFree Wisconsin, and supporters around the state, have a lot of work to do.

Today: we celebrate. Tomorrow: the battle begins.

If you're interested in the intricacies of budget-process, check out our blog post on the subject.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Event tip: Serving food to elected officials

Many of you are meeting with your elected officials this legislative session. Here's a tip from Nicci in Brown County...

Nicci checked about the procedure for providing meals for elected officials at events. She said the officials need the option to pay for the meal themselves and appreciated receiving a receipt, because a paper trail is important for records keeping.

If the event is free and open to the public, the elected official may eat for free, but Nicci recommends still giving the official the option to pay for the meal.

We hope this helps as many people are planning events in the upcoming weeks!

~SmokeFree Wisconsin

Thursday, February 12, 2009

WI State Budget 101

We've been getting some requests for a budget process refresher.  Watch our SlideShare presentation below to brush up on the WI budget process (hint:  click on the presentation and choose the "download" link above the slides to view the notes that accompany this presentation!):

WI State Budget 101

Spread the word!  Feel free to share this information with your colleagues and friends.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Congress Passes and President to Sign Historic Tobacco Tax Increase

We just received exciting news from our friends at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington, DC --

In the last few hours, the United States Congress passed legislation increasing the federal tobacco tax by 62 cents per pack and President Obama is expected to sign it into law this afternoon. After thousands of emails and phone calls…after years of effort…today, America took a significant step forward towards a healthier future for all.

Consider that the tobacco tax increase will result in:

  • more than 1 million adult smokers quitting
  • nearly 2 million kids alive today who will not become smokers
  • nearly 1 million lives saved from what would have otherwise been a smoking-caused death
Read more here: This is a great step forward for our nation's health!