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Session Update: Week 4

Legislators returned for business as usual this week. Bill filing deadline was Thursday Feb. 1st, so we expect to see committee calendars much busier than they have been. Heart month is officially underway, and we were honored that the state proclaimed Friday, February 2nd as National Wear Red Day to raise awareness that heart disease is the #1 killer of women. Both the Senate and House formally recognized the Go Red For Women campaign during their floor sessions on Thursday morning.



Quittin’ Time in Tennessee – Week of 2/5/18
AHA “Heart Day on the Hill – 2/21/18


We need your help to turn the state capitol red and advocate for important public policy changes aimed at combating cardiovascular disease and stroke. 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:


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: First bill on the calendar in House Budget Subcommittee on Wednesday, 2/7/18. Since the bill did not receive enough votes for passage last year, the subcommittee must take action to allow the bill to be brought up again for a new vote. We are meeting with all members of the subcommittee to request those voting in opposition last year reconsider and support this year and thanking those who voted in support last year asking for continued support. Once the subcommittee approves the reconsideration request, the bill will be heard immediately. Rep. Kane will continue as the primary sponsor of the P.E. bill this year and will present the bill and 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).
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 2071/HB 2209 (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: A new bill was filed in order to correct statutory citations in the bill initially filed. House members are limited in the number of bills they may file each year, so Rep. Kevin Brooks filed the bill on our behalf and Rep. Terry will continue as the primary sponsor. 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 – SB 2513/HB 2167 (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.
o 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 2525/HB 2327 (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 and Senate but not yet referred to committee. 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: [email protected] – 615-340-4145

Other Bills of Interest:

Hundreds of bills were filed this week since bill filing deadline was Thursday 2/1. We will be voraciously reading these over the next several days and determining AHA’s level of involvement and will keep you all posted on all essential bills of interest.

In the News

  • Heart Month – Go Red For Women.
  • Stroke – New guidelines for treating stroke patients.
  • Tobacco - Smoking bans help certain Americans quit

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

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