Tennessee Session Update: Week 3

Legislators returned for business as usual this week. Committees calendars are still light early in session, but Senate and House leadership are encouraging members to start moving bills. Governor Haslam will give his 8th and final State of the State address in a joint session of the legislature on Monday, January 29th at 6:00 p.m. CST. During his address, which will be televised, the governor will reveal his full 2018 legislative package and proposed state budget for 2018-19. Included in this package is an aggressive plan named “TN Together” focusing on prevention, treatment and law enforcement aimed at ending the opioid epidemic in Tennessee.


Key Dates

  • Quittin’ Time in Tennessee – Week of 2/5/18
  • American Heart Association Tennessee Heart Day on the Hill – 2/21/18

Action Needed

  • Heart Day on the Hill: The Association's annual 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! Sen. Bill Ketron will welcome everyone during our morning breakfast, and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally will be our guest speaker at lunch. Register today at yourethecure.org/tn_dayonthehill2018. Encourage volunteers to register, too!

State Campaign Updates

Physical Education in Schools:

The Tom Cronan Physical Education Act - SB 558/HB 372 (Sen. Bill Ketron/Rep. Roger Kane) 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 is planning to request the bill be reconsidered in subcommittee on Wed. 1/31 and present the new amendment! The bill AS AMENDED is agreed to by the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS), TN School Board Association (TSBA), TN Department of Health and TN Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD).

This week we will focus on meeting with members of the House Budget Subcommittee to secure support for reconsidering action taken in 2017 and passage of the bill to full committee.

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: Our bill as filed needs some legal tweaking around statutory citations providing appropriate authority for action within the divisions in the department of health. We will work to address these legalities this week. The substance of the bill has been agreed to by the Department of Health and Tennessee Hospital Association (THA). We will continue to meet with members of Senate and House Health Committees about our systems of care bills in preparation for when the bill is on committee calendar.

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 that locals EMAs will follow for assessment and triage to ensure a patient experiencing a stroke is transported to the most appropriate hospital.

Status: All involved parties met with Senator Ketron this week to work out amendatory language. The draft bill language has been rewritten to better reflect the exact purpose the bill. The new language has been agreed to by the department of health, SNIS and THA. The bill will be filed in the Senate and House this week. We will be talking to members of Senate and House Health Committees to garner support.


Repeal local preemption -

SB ___/HB 1932 (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.
Status: Bill has been filed in the House but not yet assigned to a committee. It is in process of being filed in the Senate. Coalition partners are: American Lung Association, ACSCAN, Tobacco Free Kids, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, TMA, United Ways of TN, Prevention Alliance, Tennessee Nurses Association, TN Academy of Family Physicians. For information about tobacco preemption legislation contact Alex Carmack, Community Government Relations Director, at [email protected] or 615-340-4145.

Other Bills of Interest:

We expect a flurry of bill filings next week as the deadline in the House and Senate is 2/1/18. We will be reading and determining AHA’s level of involvement and will keep you all posted on all essential bills of interest.

In the News

Physical Education -

  • 2017 State of Obesity Study by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – shows TN ranks 1st in obese children ages 10-17 

Tobacco –

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