CWA Flash E-Newsletter - December 6, 2017
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Energy, Telephone, Utilities
When families stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, they reduce the risk of health and safety problems (such as illness, fire, or eviction), especially for more vulnerable family members like infants and the elderly.  WIC Can Help   connect WIC families to financial assistance with utility bills.
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Healthy Holiday Treats
The holiday season centers on festivities that include decadent food and drink. Participating in potlucks and office parties is what the season is all about, but throwing in some healthier options is a good idea. Here are some alternatives to the tray of holiday cookies!
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U.S. Senate Passes Tax Plan
Late Friday night, the  Senate passed its tax bill  by a vote of 51-49. Republican leaders in both houses will spend this week reconciling differences. The Senate bill contains several key differences from the legislation passed by the House  on November 16-including whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate - but Republican leaders are optimistic that a final bill will be agreed upon and sent to the President's desk before the December holidays. The bill will also trigger "PAYGO" cuts, which are required when a tax bill increases the federal debt, leading to a $1 million automatic cut to WIC and billions in cuts to other programs , including Medicare. Republicans argue that PAYGO rules have always been waived to avoid program cuts, and a waiver for the tax package is anticipated to move swiftly. Economists have been overwhelmingly clear that the pending tax bills constitute a dramatic tax cut for the already wealthy and corporations, while increasing the tax burden on low-income and middle-class families . Importantly, both bills significantly decrease federal revenues and increase the federal deficit by over $1 trillion, which would, in turn, impact the funding available for discretionary federal programs like WIC.
Short Term Funding Ahead: Govt. Shutdown?
With only four days until a potential government shutdown, Congress is debating using a series of short term funding measures, Continuing Resolutions (CR) to keep programs running. Current discussion includes the first CR to cover until Dec. 22 or possibly Dec. 30 , then a second to extend funding to mid-January, after which it is hoped funding could be planned for the rest of FY 2018.  With the current focus being on tax reform, more time is needed to prepare the 12 appropriations bills and hold discussions on spending, including defense and non-defense appropriations, and also immigration issues, including DACA provisions and border security. While Republicans were able to get the House and Senate votes for tax reform, passing funding bills is expected to need some Democratic support, which may provide leverage for issues such as protection for DACA participants.
Disaster Funding for WIC
Our friends at the National WIC Association report Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill last Tuesday,  the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Equitable Rebuild Act of 2017   (S. 2165), which would provide additional disaster recovery assistance for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands following devastating hurricanes. The National WIC Association worked closely with their Senate colleagues to ensure that this bill included an additional $14 million in infrastructure funding for WIC. The additional $14 million would be available to any state WIC agency responding to presidentially declared disasters. The Appropriations Committees in the Senate and House have also been working on separate legislation to provide additional funding for disaster relief, and it currently seems unlikely that these committees will include infrastructure funding for WIC in their bills. The Appropriations Committees have the ultimate authority on supplemental funding bills such as this one. Even if WIC infrastructure funding is not included in the final disaster relief package, NWA will remain pleased that this funding request was included in S. 2165, as the presence of WIC in this bill elevates the program within the disaster relief conversation and will hopefully push policymakers in Congress and the Administration to consider WIC during future deliberations.
Supporting Working Moms Act Introduced
The Supporting Working Moms Act of 2017 (SWMA) has been introduced in the Senate. This bipartisan legislation would protect and expand working moms' right to breastfeed by extending the existing federal law to ensure that executive, administrative, and professional employees, including elementary and secondary school teachers, have break time and a private place to pump in the workplace. Read the press release ACTION: Tell Congress to Support ALL Breastfeeding & Working Moms! Use USBC's story collector to share stories of experiences with employer implementation of federal "Break Time for Nursing Mothers" law . Sign on to the thank you letter to Representative Carolyn Maloney and Senator Jeff Merkley for introducing SWMA, and tweet at your elected officials to ask them to support the bill!

CWA News
Annual Hospital Breastfeeding Fact Sheets!
CWA, along with partners at UC Davis Human Lactation Center and California Breastfeeding Coalition, will host a webinar tomorrow, December 6, ahead of the December 14th release of our annual California hospital breastfeeding data fact sheets. The fact sheets highlights encouraging news - California hospitals continue to steadily increase their exclusive breastfeeding rates across geographic and ethnic lines. It also points out that consistent and comparable data is needed on breastfeeding duration and exclusivity after mothers and babies are discharged from the hospital if we are to drive policy change in other areas, such as employment and childcare, which will help mothers meet their breastfeeding goals.  ACTION:   Join us Dec. 6 to learn about the latest (2016) data and prepare for the release of new hospital breastfeeding state and county hospital breastfeeding rate fact sheets, and learn how you can help us get the word out!
2018 Annual Conference Registration Open!
When political turmoil and environmental and social tragedies surround us, where do we turn? WIC is one place where families and staff alike get help to cope and connect when the world around us gets overwhelming or discouraging. WIC can be a bridge to health - physical and mental - and CWA's 26th Annual Conference & Trade Show will help you build these bridges for families in need. Bridge to Health: Advancing WIC to Support Today's Families will offer nutrition, early feeding and breastfeeding updates and strategies for strengthening the diverse families we serve. Workshops and the trade show will prepare us for e-WIC plus ways to apply data and technology. We will learn how to leverage collaborations and innovate to reach more families. Wellness presentations and activities will support our ability to be effective leaders. ACTION: Register before February 23 and watch for a draft agenda soon !

Our Top News Picks
Sugar Industry Health Cover Up
A new report in PLOS Biology describes how the sugar industry covered up findings in the 1960s about the link between sugar consumption and cardiovascular health problems. The original documents were found by researchers at UC San Francisco, who say that it adds to the growing evidence that the sugar industry has intentionally misled the public and suppressed damning health research to protect its economic interests. The sugar industry has long insisted that sugar has no unique role in promoting obesity, diabetes or heart disease, though numerous studies by independent researchers have concluded otherwise. In a statement, the Sugar Association disputed the new report, calling it "a collection of speculations and assumptions about events that happened nearly five decades ago, conducted by a group of researchers and funded by individuals and organizations that are known critics of the sugar industry."
Nestle Leaves Grocery Manufacturers Association
NestlĂ©, the world's largest food company,  announced in late October that it would be leaving the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) , the food industry's most powerful lobbying group in Washington, DC. The departure of NestlĂ©, a conglomerate that owns thousands of popular food brands, signifies the emerging divisions in the food industry over rapidly evolving consumer demands, such as labeling on GMO foods. Iconic food brands that are hesitant to modernize are going up against manufacturers of healthier and more transparent products. In the past year, an increasing number of member companies have decided to leave GMA.
More Substance Abuse, More Kids in Foster Care
new government report  says the number of children in the U.S . foster care system has increased for the fourth year in a row, due largely to an uptick in substance abuse by parents. The report, issued annually by the Administration for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services, shows that the foster care population has jumped from 427,400 children at the end of fiscal year 2015 to 437,400 children at the end of 2016. The foster care population peaked at 524,000 in 2002 and dropped to about 397,000 cases by 2012. Government data also shows that drug abuse by a parent was a factor in 34 percent of the cases in 2016, up from 32 percent in 2015. About 92,000 children were removed from their homes due to the substance abuse of at least one parent.In a recent  report   by the Chronicle of Social Change, a nonprofit publication, finds that as the number of American children in foster care increases, there is a concurrent shortfall in the number of foster homes to accommodate them.

Traveling With Breastmilk
As many prepare for holiday travel, now is a good time to familiarize yourself with the Transportation Security Administration's helpful information for individuals traveling with breast milk, or with children who have particular medical needs or equipment. All travelers are required to undergo screening, but TSA has developed screening procedures to ensure that travelers and their associated medical items and devices can be screened regardless of the disability or medical condition. TSA also has programs to assist travelers. TSA Cares is a helpline for travelers with disabilities or medical conditions who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying. By contacting TSA Cares, travelers may also request the assistance of a Passenger Support Specialist (PSS) for security screening. For general inquiries and questions, visit or use the TSA Contact Center . See the Civil Rights webpage for information about passengers' civil rights and liberties in the security screening process, or to file a discrimination complaint.
Premature Birth Report Card
March of Dimes has released the " 2017 Premature Birth Report Card ." The report provides preterm birth rates as well as a grade for states and counties within the United States. The preterm birth rate has increased for the second year, rising 2 percent to 9.8 percent in 2016. Preterm birth rates worsened in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, stayed the same in three states (AL, AZ, WA), and improved in only four states (NE, NH, PA, WY). This year's Report Card also reveals that racial, ethnic and geographic disparities in preterm birth rates continue to persist.
Health Equity Messaging Guide
Voices for Healthy Kids, a collaboration between the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has published a messaging guide entitled, " Health Equity in Public Policy: Messaging Guide for Policy Advocates ." Based on research and tested with decision-makers and voters, the report provides messages, tips and insights to help advocates make the case for specific language in public policies to ensure that they are effective in advancing health equity. Created specifically for use by policy advocates, the messages support decision makers' desire to create effective policies and to advance bipartisan solutions. Testing shows that the messages resonate with decision-makers and likely voters across the political spectrum, geography, race and other demographics.

California WIC Association
3120 Freeboard Dr., Suite 101, West Sacramento, CA 95691

Phone: 916-572-0700; Fax: 916-572-0760