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Session Update: Week 7

Tennessee state offices were closed on Monday, Feb. 19th in recognition of President’s Day, so there were fewer days to get a lot of work done on American Heart Association priorities! Committee and floor (full chamber) calendars were very full during this short week. A great group of AHA volunteers, networkers and staff assembled at the Tennessee legislature on Wednesday, Feb. 21st to participate in AHA’s “Heart” Day on the Hill. Attendees had opportunities to meet with legislators about our 2018 public policy initiatives (detailed below) including Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker Beth Harwell. We appreciate all who were able to spend time at the capitol this week!

Our systems of care bills (STEMI and Stroke) both were successful in next step of passage, and updates are added on each bill below. House and Senate leadership continue to push for early April adjournment, so committees are scheduling final calendars to work on over the next few weeks to complete business.


AHA ALERT: Tobacco Preemption Bill Up for Vote!

The bill to allow local governments the option to pass smoke-free ordinances is scheduled for a vote in the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Wednesday, February 28th. An alert went out to networkers in Tennessee’s You’re the Cure network who live in districts of members of the subcommittee. Click here to view the alert:


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: This week we learned of concerns from several hospitals about a piece of the language in the STEMI bill regarding taking the patient to the “closest” STEMI receiving hospital. The language will be amended this coming week to reflect that a patient experiencing a STEMI will be taken to the “closest or most appropriate” hospital. The bill is on calendar in the House Health Subcommittee the amendment will be added there. The STEMI bill unanimously passed the full Senate on Thursday morning! Senator Briggs understands that the bill will be amended on the House side and will be ready to accept the changes when it returns to the Senate in the new version. We are appreciative of collaboration of hospitals and emergency services on this bill and are excited about its advancement through the legislature.

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 unanimously passed the House Health subcommittee on Wednesday with an amendment to clarify emergency medical “providers” versus “responders.”. It is on calendar in the full House Health Committee on Tuesday, 2/27 and in the full Senate Health Committee on Wednesday, 2/28. We will be meeting with Health Committee members in the House and Senate this week to ensure support of the bill before the committee hearings.


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 is on calendar in the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Wednesday, 2/28. We are engaging networkers in subcommittee members’ districts and meeting with members of the subcommittee to garner support for this important legislation.

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: – 615-340-4145

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: Waiting “behind the budget” in the House Finance Budget Subcommittee.” Next action will occur when the subcommittee passes the state budget (action anticipated in early April) and takes up bills “behind the budget.” Although the P.E. bill has a fiscal note attached, the funds can be achieved via BEP funding. The bills should move through the full committee to a floor vote. 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

In the News

Heart Disease –

Stroke –

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

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