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Tennessee Session Wrap-Up 2018: Heart, Stroke Successes!

The 2018 Tennessee legislative session came to a close late Wednesday, April 25, after final agreement on issues pertaining to the Tennessee Ready statewide testing for students in grades 3 – 12. The “sine die” resolution (meaning no further meetings scheduled) passed in the House and Senate just before 11 p.m. adjourning the 110th General Assembly.

hero_image_alt_text===Tennessee Capitol with We Did It!

This was a successful session for the American Heart Association's public policy initiatives. Just take a look!

  • SB 558 / HB 372 - Set minimum standards for Physical Education in schools.
    • Summary: The legislation known as the Tom Cronan Physical Education Act requires all public elementary school students to have at least 60 minutes of P.E. per week and instruction to be provided by a certified P.E. teacher. The final legislation was supported by the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS), Tennessee School Board Association (TSBA), Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD) and Council for a Strong America (Mission:Readiness). 
    • Sponsors: Senator Bill Ketron and Representative Roger Kane
    • Status: Signed by the governor on May 21.
  • SB 2513 / HB 2167 - Help stroke patients get the right care at the right time. 
    • Summary: The legislation requires the state Department of Health to formally recognize certified stroke centers and EMS to establish protocol guidelines that locals EMAs will follow for assessment and triage to ensure a patient experiencing a stroke is transported to the most appropriate hospital. 
    • Sponsors: Senator Bill Ketron and Representative Bob Ramsey
    • Status: Signed by the governor on April 12 and became Public Chapter 722.
  • SB 2071 / HB 2209 - Help heart attack patients get the right care at the right time. 
    • Summary: The legislation requires the state Department of Health to recognize STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infarction) receiving and referring hospitals, which are certified or accredited by a nationally-recognized certifying or accrediting body, and requires ambulance services to develop and implement local protocols to ensure patients experiencing a STEMI are transported to the right place for treatment. 
    • Sponsors: Senator Richard Briggs and Representative Bryan Terry
    • Status: Signed by the governor on April 2 and is now Public Chapter 626.
  • SB 2525 / HB 2327 - Enable local communities to go smoke-free.
    • Summary: Current state law prevents local governments from passing ordinances to make their communities smoke free. The legislation would repeal tobacco preemption and give local governments the ability to prohibit smoking on their property, in age-restricted venues open to the public, and hotel/motel rooms if desired. 
    • Sponsors: Senator Bill Ketron and Representative Bob Ramsey
    • Status: Unfortunately, the preemption bill did not gain the necessary support needed to advance in the House Agricultural Subcommittee due to a strong opposition push by tobacco industry lobbyists. The bill was taken off notice from the subcommittee calendar in March.

Thank you to everyone who contacted legislators, asking for support and showing appreciation for action.

Each e-mail, call or visit impacts decisions made by legislators. And the issues passed this year will truly make a difference for patients who suffer severe heart attacks or strokes, and help children create healthy habits for life through Physical Education. Stay tuned for future You're the Cure alerts on how you can continue advocating for a healthier Tennessee, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

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