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Session Update: Week 2

Legislators had a short week in session given the Monday holiday recognizing Martin Luther King Day followed by a snow storm across the state. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally announced that Sen. Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin) is now Speaker Pro Tempore and Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) is now Deputy Speaker of the Senate. Also, committees are meeting primarily to organize and hear presentations from state agencies. Bill filing continues, and we are tracking any bills pertinent to AHA public policy interests. We expect a flurry of bill introductions this week as bill filing deadline for the House and Senate is February 1st. After this date, bills filed may be amended as needed, but no new bills can be introduced after this date.

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Action Needed

AHA Heart Day on the Hill is a month away on Wed., Feb. 21, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. CST. In Nashville. Your participation is important to ensure success on our public policy initiatives being acted upon this year in the TN legislature! Register today at: https://www.yourethecure.org/tn_dayonthehill2018.

State Campaign Updates

Physical Education in Schools:

SB 558/HB 372 (Sen. Bill Ketron/Rep. Roger Kane) – 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.

  • Status: Rep. Roger Kane will continue as the bill sponsor in the House and will bring the amendment that we have agreed to along with TOSS, TSBA and other interested parties. This coming week we will focus on meeting with members of the House Budget Subcommittee this week about reconsider action from last year’s meeting in which the bill did not receive enough votes to move to full committee. Our goal is for the bill to be calendared in committee within the next two weeks.
  • 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

Quality Systems of Care:

STEMI facility designation bill - 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 protocol for ensuring patients experiencing a STEMI are transported to the right place for treatment.

  • Status: Bill not yet calendared for action; continuing to meet with members of Senate and House Health about systems of care bills in preparation for when bill is on committee calendar. It appears there is no opposition to the STEMI bill. We will work with bill sponsors to get calendared as soon as possible.

Stroke center designation bill (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.

  • Status: The Department of Health and state stroke task force have raised some concerns about the drafted language. Sen. Ketron has scheduled a meeting for 1/23/18 including the TDH representatives, THA, SNIS and AHA to meet about the bill and work on a consensus to the language in order to be prepared and filed by the 2/1/18 bill filing deadline. No bill number yet!

Tobacco Control:

Repeal local preemption (Sen. Bill Ketron/Rep. Bob Ramsey) – Current TN state law prevents local governments from passing ordinances 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. For information about tobacco preemption legislation contact: Alex Carmack – Community Government Relations Director: alex.carmack@heart.org – 615-340-4145

  • Status: Bill is being drafted for filing; coalition is growing in support of initiative!

Other Bills of Interest:

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.

In the News

Thank you for your support and involvement as we work together to advocate for these important public policy changes!

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