ADVOCATING FOR REGULATIONS
THAT BUILD HEALTHIER COMMUNITIES
Last month, we talked about Advocating for Public Policies that Build Healthier Communities. In this month's newsletter, we focus on advocating for regulations, which involves the implementation process of healthy community public policies that are adopted.
This newsletter places a focus on 2 areas of implementation – Healthy Food Access and Complete Streets Policies – on which the AALC has successfully advocated for public policies in the past (and is now advocating for implementation of adopted policies).
TOOLS TO HELP
IMPLEMENT LOCAL FOOD POLICIES
Urban Agriculture: Growing Healthy, Sustainable Places
American Planning Association, Planning Advisory Service
The American Planning Association initiated this report to introduce practicing planners and local government representatives to the concept of urban agriculture, its different forms of practice across North America, and its connections to other social, economic, and environmental goals. The creation of this report coincides with the steady rise in popularity of urban agriculture in the United States and Canada, as evidenced by coverage in the popular press, its increasingly central place within the growing local food movement, and the increase in interest in planning cities to foster both healthier residents and more sustainable communities.
Good Laws, Good Food – Putting Local Food Policy
to Work for Our Communities
Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic
This newly updated toolkit can help a wide range of individuals and groups—extending from nonprofits to city planners to local government agencies—interested in enacting change in their local food system. The toolkit has a local focus, addressing the laws and policies that are created at the municipal city or county level, and on local systems of production, distribution, and consumption. Though extremely comprehensive, the toolkit is meant to be read in sections, which address hot topics such as: land use planning and regulation, procurement, school food and food waste.
IMPLEMENTING COMPLETE STREETS POLICIES
According to Smart Growth America, more communities passed Complete Streets policies in 2016 than ever before. Communities adopted a total of 222 new Complete Streets policies last year. Nationwide, a total of 1,232 policies are now in place, in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, including 33 state governments, 77 regional planning organizations, and 955 individual municipalities. Check out the best policies of 2016.
These policies are the strongest ever passed…and it is clear that communities are consistently passing stronger and more effective Complete Streets policies. The challenge now is to help communities of all income levels and ethnicities benefit from this progress equitably. Toward that goal, the National Complete Streets Coalition is in the process of updating the policy scoring rubric to give more weight to equity considerations as well as implementation. The new standards will be made public later this year, and Smart Growth will begin to use the updated rubric to analyze policies moving forward.
Complete Streets Policies - Vision & Intent
Why should vision and intent be integral parts of a successful, sustainable Complete Streets policy?
A community’s intention and commitment to using a Complete Streets approach should be clear throughout the entire policy. The vision should acknowledge how Complete Streets can help build a comprehensive transportation network that serves all community members, where people can comfortably travel to and from their destinations safely, efficiently and affordably. By carefully considering vision and intent, communities can better create policies that reach their most pressing, unique needs and most vulnerable populations. Equity for all people who use the streets, regardless of race, income or physical ability should be a core motivation for pursuing a Complete Streets policy.
Smart Growth found that nearly half of all the Complete Streets policies adopted across the country are resolutions, which are non-binding statements from a jurisdiction’s legislative branch. Their new Complete Streets policy framework encourages communities to use stronger language to describe a firm commitment to Complete Streets implementation; instead of “whereas” statements, communities are encouraged to use “shall” or “must” in the body of the policy. This distinction was not included in the previous policy framework, and they believe that binding policies lead to greater Complete Streets implementation.
Bike Friendly Report Card by State -
Guide to the Bicycle Friendly State Report Card 2017 Edition
The League of American Bicyclist's Bicycle Friendly State Report Card is intended to provide highlighted information about each state to provide a useful comparison between states and serve as a reference for state efforts related to bicycling. This guide will provide background information on each of the data points on the Report Card.
It is important to note that the data on the Report Card do not necessarily reflect the totality of a state’s efforts related to bicycling. The Report Card also does not explicitly consider factors such as natural beauty, weather, or culture that may affect riding in a state. While the majority of data relate to actions by a state Department of Transportation, the data is not limited to things within the control or influence of a state Department of Transportation. Many states have efforts that do not fit within the survey and public data used to create the Report Card.
Bike Friendly State Report Card –
Arizona has long been a place where many people bike to work and many more engage in recreational bicycling. Similar to Florida (#15), there is a higher rate of bicyclist fatalities per bike commuter than per capita, perhaps reflecting uncounted recreational bicyclists. Read Arizona's report card here.
NOTE: In Arizona, the Bike Friendly Survey (BFS) is completed by the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists (CAzB) before submittal to League of American Bicyclists (LAB). Representatives of the CAzB have expressed concerns regarding the clarity of the purpose for the survey and the limited scope which does not encompass differences between the geography and population concentration of east coast versus western states.
Representatives of the CAzB continue to work with the LAB to modify the BFS to make it more responsive and reflective of the differences in geography and population concentration of the various states throughout the country.
Guidelines for Public Health Advocacy -
The Network for Public Health Law
State and local agencies and federal grant recipients often have access to the best available evidence that can guide public health policy. It is therefore important for them to bring that evidence to the attention of policymakers through public health advocacy, but within the guidelines established by rules and regulations governing such activities.
Rules and regulations on the use of government and other grant funds to engage in certain advocacy activities have existed for a long time. However, many fund recipients are unclear on the scope of the relevant rules and regulations. This can lead to grantees refraining from engaging in permitted activities or inadvertently engaging in non-permitted activities. Recent changes regarding the use of Department of Health and Human Services funds contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 have brought this issue to the forefront and caused confusion among some grantees, officials, and organizations. In addition, state anti-lobbying laws that place restrictions on the use of state funds vary widely among jurisdictions.
EVENTS & CONFERENCES
Lunch & Learn Series: Public Health Law in a Nutshell: Pillars, Policies, Practices
Thursday, Nov 16, 2017, 12:00-1:30pm
Public health law is a multi-faceted field of theory and practice which is constantly changing in response to new challenges, interpretations, and evidence-based findings. Based in part on his text, Public Health Law in a Nutshell (3rd ed. 2018), Professor James G. Hodge, Jr., JD, LLM, ASU Law, explores the role of law as primary tool for improving public health outcomes. In this session, he will present major pillars underlying the field, examine these pillars through a policy lens, draw practice-based conclusions, and leave you with key “take home” messages. This session is designed to challenge not only how you think about the field of public health law, but also change your perceptions of your critical role within it.
AARP's 5th Annual Livable Communities National Conference
Nov. 14-16, 2017
Call for Sessions Due by August 14
New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
February 1-3, 2018
San Francisco, California
2018 Main Street America Now Conference
Kansas City, Missouri
American Planning Association
New! November 9 – "Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities," presented by the Healthy Communities Collaborative (free; registration required) CM | .5
National Complete Streets Coalition Policy Framework Webinar
The National Complete Streets Coalition announced the next webinar designed to help professionals from a variety of disciplines put Complete Streets into action.
Friday, December 1, 2017
1:00-2:00 PM EDT
The Complete Streets Coalition (CSC) releases the ranking of the best Complete Streets policies in the country on an annual basis. Beginning in 2018, the CSC will use a brand new framework to analyze and rank Complete Streets policies.The CSC has revised the policy grading rubric, known as the 10 Elements of a Complete Streets Policy. The Complete Streets movement has evolved since it began in 2004 to focus far more on implementation and equity, but the framework for grading the quality of policies hasn’t kept pace. The CSC will release the new policy grading framework and discuss how it will affect current and future policies during this webinar.
FY 2017 Economic Development Assistance Programs
EDA solicits applications from applicants in rural and urban areas to provide investments that support construction, non-construction and technical assistance. Grants and cooperative agreements made under these programs are designed to leverage existing regional assets and support the implementation of economic development strategies that advance new ideas and creative approaches to advance economic prosperity in distressed communities.
More information: Available here
Evidence for Action: Investigator-Initiated Research to Build a Culture of Health
Evidence for Action (E4A), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, funds research that expands the evidence base needed to build a Culture of Health. Our mission is to support rigorously designed quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research that yields convincing findings regarding the population health, well-being, and equity impacts of specific policies, programs and partnerships. We are especially interested in research examining the health impacts of programmatic or policy interventions that address factors outside the domain of health care services or public health practice.
More information: Available here