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Session Update: Week 1

The Tennessee General Assembly reconvened on Tuesday, January 9th in Nashville. Given the political campaign landscape in Tennessee and the flurry of activity with legislative members retiring or seeking other office, we anticipate adjournment in early April this year.

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Action Needed

  • Action Alert: On January 9, you should have received a You're the Cure alert via email, asking you to thank our bill sponsors during the 2018 legislative session. If you haven't taken action yet, please do so at http://act.yourethecure.org/XleMNpL. These legislators will be doing a lot of heavy lifting at the State Capitol on behalf of the fight against heart disease and stroke. Let them know you appreciate their time and support. 
  • Lobby Day: Register for the AHA's annual lobby day at https://www.yourethecure.org/tn_dayonthehill2018.

Key Dates

  • Wed., Feb. 21 - AHA's Tennessee Heart Day on the Hill. Make plans now to attend our annual lobby day in Nashville on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. CST. Your participation is important to ensure success on our public policy initiatives being acted upon this year in the Tennessee legislature! Register today at https://www.yourethecure.org/tn_dayonthehill2018. And please invite family, friends and volunteers to register as well! 

Campaign Updates 

State Campaigns 

Legislators will spend time weekly in Nashville from Monday afternoon – Thursday mornings during legislative session. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need information to share with members about important policy issues we are working on. I also ask that you please let me know any feedback from conversations with legislative members about our policy agenda or other important healthcare legislation. If at any time you need more information on a specific issue, please let me know! Bills are slowly being filed by Senate and House members. As they are released, we will be reading and determining AHA’s level of involvement. I will keep you all posted on all essential bills of interest.

Below is an update on key bills for the American Heart Association. Talking points are forthcoming.

Physical Education in Schools:

SB 558/HB 372 (Sen. Bill Ketron/Rep. Gary Hicks) – The Tom Cronan Physical Education Act - requires all public elementary school students to have at least 60 minutes of P.E. per week. Contact Betsy.Wood@heart.org with questions.

  • Status: Bill passed the full Senate, but was stalled in the House Budget Subcommittee in 2017 due to various reasons, including concerns raised by a school superintendent. We have worked over the summer and fall on amendatory language to address concerns by a few schools who need time to get appropriately staffed with certified P.E. teachers. We also are working with members of the Budget Subcommittee to reconsider action on the bill, so that it can be heard in budget subcommittee. The bill has a new primary House sponsor with Rep. Gary Hicks, who will present the amendment to the bill. As amended, the bill should move ahead with the support of the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) and Tennessee School Board Association.
  • Senate co-sponsors: Crowe, Massey, Watson
  • House co-sponsors: Kane, Dunn, Ramsey, McCormick, Smith, Williams, Byrd, Butt, Whitson, Hawk, Reedy, Kumar, DeBerry, Fitzhugh, McDaniel, Stewart, M. White

STEMI Facility Designation:

SB 1507/HB 1548 (Sen. Richard Briggs/Rep. Bryan Terry) – requires the department of health to recognize STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infarction) receiving and referring hospitals and requires ambulance services to develop and implement a protocal for ensuring patients experiencing a STEMI are transported to the right place for treatment. Contact Betsy.Wood@heart.org with questions.

  • Status: Bill introduced on 1/10/18 in Senate and House – not yet calendared for action; meeting with members of Senate Health about systems of care bills in preparation for when bill is on committee calendar.

Stroke Center Designation:

Bill numbers forthcoming (Sen. Bill Ketron/Rep. Bob Ramsey) – requires the department of health to formally recognize certified stroke centers and EMS to establish protocol guidelines to ensure patient experiencing a stroke is transported to the most appropriate hospital. Contact Betsy.Wood@heart.org with questions.

  • Status: Bill is being drafted for filing.

Tobacco Preemption Repeal: 

Bill numbers forthcoming (Sen. Bill Ketron/Rep. Bob Ramsey) – Current Tennessee state law prevents local governments from passing oridinances to make their communities smoke free. This bill repeals tobacco preemption and gives local governments the ability to prohibit smoking on their property, in age restricted venues open to the public, and hotel/motel rooms if desired.

  • Status: Bill is being drafted for filing; coalition is growing in support of initiative! For information about tobacco preemption legislation contact Alex.Carmack@heart.org.
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