minnesota assist summary - Legacy Tobacco Documents Library

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minnesota assist summary - Legacy Tobacco Documents Library

MINNESOTA

ASSIST SUMMARY

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MINNESOTA ASSIST SIIMNIARY -- LOBBYING ACTIVITIES

The American Stop Smoking Invention Study for cancer prevention

("ASSIST") is a federally funded, collaborative effort between the National Cancer

Institute and the American Cancer Society, along with state and local health departments

and other voluntary organizations, to develop and implement comprehensive tobacco

control programs in seventeen states, including Minnesota . Minnesota Project ASSIST

("MN ASSIST") apparently has engaged in a wide variety of direct and indirect antitobacco

lobbying activities at the federal, state and local levels, according to documents

obtained through Freedom-of-Information Act requests and other public materials .

I. MN ASSIST's Stated Objective Is To Support Anti-Smoking

Public Policies

MN ASSIST established several goals, including the formation of state

legislative agendas . MN ASSIST's legislative agenda for 1994 included :

1 . Statewide tobacco licensing law with progressive

fines/penalties[ .]

2. Tobacco tar increase . . . .

3 . Amendments to the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act[ .]

Attachment 1 at 1 (emphasis added) ; see also Attachments 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 .

II. MN ASSIST Lobbied Federal Officials

In late 1995, a local MN ASSIST coalition reported that it had "focused

its energies on an important short-term project (encouraging support of the FDA

proposal to regulate tobacco products) ." Attachment 12 at 1(emphasis added) . The

coalition prepared 14,000 postcards calling for support of FDA's planned rule . Id .

III. MN ASSIST Lobbied State Leeislators

In fiscal year 1994, MN ASSIST planned to work towards passage of a

strict, comprehensive "tobacco licensing bill ." Attachment 6 at 2 (emphasis added) .

In February 1994, MN ASSIST coalition members were provided with

"extensive training regarding tobacco licensing and the state legislature ." Attachment 7

at 3 . A lobbyist gave a presentation on "advocating for policy change at the state level ."

Id . Lobbying resources, such as guides to the legislature, also were made available .

Attachment 7 at 3 ; see also Attachments 8, 9 .

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In April 1994, MN ASSIST reported that :

Attachment 7 at 15 (emphasis added) .

This legislative session was the first opportunity for ASSIST local

coalitions and their members to become involved with the

statewide policy agenda . . . . As of this report, it remains to be

seen what progress has been made on tobacco tax and statewide

tobacco licensing . . . . This session was a good trial run, but

much work remains . ASSIST will need to continue to expand its

network if we are to move our state legislature forward .

IV. MN ASSIST Lobbied Local Ofticials With The

Assistance Of The Advocacy Institute

In fiscal year 1994, MN ASSIST, working through its local coalitions,

planned to encourage communities "to adopt strict vending machine ordinances ."

Attachment 6 at 4 .

On January 21, 1994, MN ASSIST reported that its local coalitions had

engaged in numerous lobbying activities, including :

See also Attachments 5, 7, 8, 9 .

• [C]ontact[ing] . . . municipalities . . . to determine the

extent of their tobacco licensing restrictions . . .[and]

developing a plan of action, including selection of

communities to target for policy change . (Attachment 1 at

2 (emphasis added)) .

• [S]upport[ing] a local effort to institute tobacco licensing in

the city of Burnsville ." (Id . (emphasis added)) .

• [I]n collaboration with . . . the Advocacy Institute . . . ,

coordinat[ing[ an effort to support the mayor of Brooklyn

Center in an attempt to ban all point-of-purchase tobacco

advertising in the city . (Id . at 3 (emphasis added)) .

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V. MN ASSIST Awarded Subcontracts To Lobbvine Organizations

MN ASSIST awarded a subcontract in the amount of $19,686 to the

Minnesota Coalition for a Smoke-Free Society 2000 for training youth in public policy

advocacy, media advocacy and community organizing . The subcontract raised concerns

about the use of federal funds for lobbying, a fact which MN ASSIST acknowledged .

Attachment 10 ; see also Attachments 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15 .

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ATTACHMENTS

(excerpts only, unless otherwise noted)

Number Documents

1 MN ASSIST Quarterly Report for 1st Quarter, Phase

II, Year 3 (Oct . 1, 1993 - Dec . 31, 1993)

2 MN ASSIST Project Management Plan (Sept . 15,

1993)

3 MN ASSIST Quarterly Report for 3rd Quarter,

Phase I, Year 2 (Apr . 1, 1993 - June 30, 1993)

4 MN ASSIST Quarterly Report for 2nd Quarter,

Phase I, Year 2 (Jan . 1, 1993 - Mar . 31, 1993)

5 MN ASSIST Quarterly Report for 1st Quarter, Phase

II, Year 3 (July 1, 1994 - Sept . 30, 1994)

6 MN ASSIST 1993-94 Annual Action Plan

7 MN ASSIST Quarterly Report for 1st Quarter, Phase

II, Year 3 (Jan . 1, 1994 - Mar . 31, 1994)

8 MN ASSIST 1994-95 Annual Action Plan

9 MN ASSIST Quarterly Report for 1st Quarter, Phase

II, Year 3 (Apr . 1, 1994 - June 30, 1994)

10 Iztter from MN ASSIST to Minnesota Coalition for

a Smoke-Free Society 2000 (July 30, 1993)

I I Letter from Smoke-Free 2000 Coalition to State

Representatives (Feb . 8, 1995)

12 MN ASSIST Subcontractor Quarterly Reports for

July 1, 1995 - Sept . 30, 1995 ; Apr . 1, 1995 - June

30, 1995 ; and Jan . 1, 1995 - Mar . 31, 1995

13 Letter to Governor and State Auditor from The

Minnesota Grocers Association re : Unlawful Use of

Federal Taxpayer Dollars by Minnesota Department

of Health and Violations of State Lobbyist

Registration and Reporting Laws (Oct . 18, 1995)

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14 "Ethics Board Clears Anti-Smoking Groups," Star

Tribune (Jan . 27, 1996)

15 Letter from Minnesota Department of Health to

Governor (Nov . 20, 1995)

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