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Tennessee Session Update: Week 6

Weeks are getting busier at the Tennessee legislature! Senate and House leadership are urging legislative members to schedule bills for action as soon as possible! Committees will begin scheduling final calendars in the next few weeks as the legislature is eyeing an early April adjournment. We are busy getting our AHA public policy initiatives scheduled for action in committee and will be sending alerts to keep you informed and engaged!

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Key Dates

Tennessee Heart Day on the Hill, February 21 - 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

This coming week is our “Heart” Day on the Hill, and we can’t wait to turn the capitol red while advocating for important public policy changes aimed at combating cardiovascular disease and stroke. Sen. Bill Ketron will welcome everyone, and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally will be our guest speaker before lunch. Information will be going out to registrants this weekend. Don’t hesitate to contact me at betsy.wood@heart.org with any questions before Wednesday.

Campaign Updates

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 to ensure patients experiencing a STEMI are transported to the right place for treatment. 

Status: The Senate Health Committee is scheduled to hear unanimously voted in favor of the STEMI bill on Wednesday 2/14. We expect the bill to be on the Senate Floor either Thursday, 2/22 or Monday 2/26. In the House, the STEMI bill is on calendar for Wednesday 2/21 in the House Health Subcommittee. The subcommittee has a very full calendar, and the STEMI bill is toward the end of agenda. If it is not heard on 2/21 it should be heard on 2/28. We are meeting with subcommittee members to ensure support of the bill in the House as well as the Senate.

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.

Status: The bill is on calendar for the House Health Subcommittee on Wednesday, 2/21. The TN Stroke Task Force met on Friday 2/16, and requested 2 clarifying language changes to the legislation. We are working with the House sponsor to draft an amendment with those changes. State offices are closed Monday due to recognition of President’s Day, so we may miss getting an amendment filed timely for subcommittee. We are planning for the bill to be heard on 2/21, but it may be deferred to 2/28 for the amendment to be ready. We will continue to meet with House and Senate members about this important stroke legislation.

Tobacco:

Repeal local preemption bill

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 referred to the House Agriculture Committee and the Senate Commerce, Labor & Agriculture committee but not yet calendared.

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: alex.carmack@heart.org.

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: House Budget Subcommittee unanimously voted in favor of the bill, but it is “behind the budget.” This means that when the subcommittee passes the state budget (action anticipated in early April) the committee will take up bills that are “behind the budget.” Although the P.E. bill has a fiscal note attached, there is recognition that the funds can be achieved via BEP funding, so it is expected to move from behind the budget and continue through the full committee to a floor vote. So we are just waiting until the budget is taken up by the Finance Committee. We will keep you informed as we determine the timing of when that will occur. This bill passed the Senate in 2017 and is awaiting House action.

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

Other Bills of Interest:

We are determining AHA’s level of involvement on several bills filed last week and 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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