South Carolina Advocacy Update

We've been working very hard at the General Assembly to advance our 2024 Public Policy Agenda, and there has been a whirlwind of activity since session began earlier this month.

Things are moving at a lightning pace for our top two priorities: CERP and T-CPR. Let's dive into some updates below.

Cardiac Emergency Response Plans (CERPs)

On Wednesday, January 17th, Rep. Jackie Hayes and Rep. Brian Lawson introduced the bipartisan Smart Heart Act, H. 4866. The next day, Sen. Michael Gambrell introduced the Senate companion bill, S. 977.
The Smart Heart Act would require schools to implement cardiac emergency response plans and take steps to enhance the safety of school athletic events. It has received overwhelmingly positive support from members of the General Assembly. When discussing this bill with lawmakers, they commonly respond by saying it "just makes sense."
Notably, the Speaker of the House, Rep. Murrell Smith and House Majority Leader Rep. David Hiott have both agreed to cosponsor the bill, signaling it could move very quickly through the House. Conversations with Senate leadership have also gone well, as Senate Majority Leader Sen. Shane Massey and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Brad Hutto have expressed their support for these policies.
Where it stands: 
The Smart Heart Act has been referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and the Senate Education Committee.
The Chair of the House Education and Public Works Committee, Rep. Shannon Erickson, has already identified the Smart Heart Act as a priority for her committee, meaning we could have a committee hearing very soon.
To support the implementation of these policies, we are working with Rep. Hayes to secure $2M from the state budget.

Telecommunicator CPR (T-CPR)

On Wednesday, January 17th, Smart Heart Act sponsors Rep. Hayes and Rep. Lawson also introduced the T-CPR Training Law, H. 4867. The following day, Sen. Gambrell also introduced the Senate companion bill, S. 976.
The T-CPR Training Law would require telecommunicators who provide dispatch for emergency medical conditions to be trained in delivering CPR instructions over the phone. Lawmakers have been surprised to learn that South Carolina hasn’t implemented this yet. This means your voice is more important than ever!
Where it stands:
The T-CPR Training Law has been referred to the House Medical, Military, Municipal and Public Affairs Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Stay tuned to your inbox for potential action opportunities on this bill.

Medicaid Expansion

On Wednesday, January 10th, South Carolina Government Relations Director Andrew Wylam testified in support of S. 855, the Healthcare Study Committee Joint Resolution before the Senate Medical Affairs Committee.
The AHA has joined allies at CoverSC to support this bill because it would bring us one step closer to expanding Medicaid in South Carolina. Closing the current Medicaid coverage gap would allow thousands of South Carolina residents to enroll in Medicaid and access quality healthcare.
Everyone who testified that day supported the bill, so we are optimistic about the path forward.
Where it stands:
The Committee chose not to vote on S. 855 during this meeting, but we expect them to vote on it during their next meeting.

Stay tuned for some YTC action alerts for CERP and T-CPR headed your way! We'll be counting on you to call and email your elected officials to ask them to support our bills.

Lastly, we want to invite you to register for our South Carolina You’re the Cure at the Capitol Day on February 14th. This is our day to wear red and gather at the State House to raise awareness about the need to address heart disease and stroke prevention and treatment through advocacy. Spaces are limited, so register soon! We’ll hope you'll join us to advocate for longer, healthier lives in South Carolina.
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