TNAAP Day on the Hill

Each March, we invite members to join us for a day of advocacy. The day includes a general overview of the legislative process, a discussion of current proposed legislation, plus individual and group meetings with legislators and leadership.

This is your chance to get involved and speak out on behalf of children and pediatricians. Whether you are new to the process or a “seasoned veteran”, your participation helps us make a solid impact with Tennessee legislators.

Check back in 2025 for details regarding our next Day on the Hill.

This image portrays Legislative by TNAAP.
2024 Day on the Hill

Legislative Activities

The 113th TN General Assembly adjourned sine die on the afternoon of Thursday April 25, 2024. The next legislative session begins with the 114th General Assembly which will convene the second Tuesday of January 2025. As usual, TNAAP had a very busy but successful year lobbying the state legislature. Below is a (non-exhaustive) list of bills that TNAAP supported, opposed or amended. 

Bills Passed: 

  • SB1709/HB1628 by Senator Joey Hensley and Representative Scott Cepicky. This bill, named the Dr. Benjamin Mauck Act, creates an enhanced penalty for assault and aggravated assault within a healthcare facility. TNAAP supported this bill. 
  • SB2175/HB2251 by Senator Joey Hensley and Representative Scott Cepicky. Creates the Smart Heart Act. Requires all high schools to have at least one AED that is accessible during the school day and all school sport activities. Requires an annual review and rehearsal of an athletics emergency action plan and for each school to develop and adopt a cardiac emergency response plan. Adds CPR and AED training to the required annual training for coaches and athletic directors. TNAAP supported this bill. 
  • SB2359/HB1726 by Senator Bo Watson and Representative Ron Gant. Prohibits DCS from requiring that a foster parent be vaccinated against flu and whooping cough prior to fostering a child in DCS custody. TNAAP opposed this bill. 
  • SB2749/HB2936 by Senator Ferrell Haile and Representative Jeremy Faison. Enacts the Families’ Rights and Responsibilities Act. Prohibits a healthcare provider from knowingly taking certain actions without first obtaining parental consent, including providing medical treatments, prescribing or administering medication or rendering certain counseling services in some instances. This bill also establishes a long list of exemptions, including what is currently in code for emergency care and family planning. TNAAP initially opposed this bill, but worked with sponsors to ensure that there was a thorough list of exemptions and did not roll back current exemptions in the law. 
  • SB1791/HB1973 by Senator Becky Massey and Representative David Hawk. When screening for a certain condition is required by RUSP and not added to the newborn screening panel within 36 hours, requires DOH to submit a report as to why the condition was not required to the Senate and House Health committees and the Rare Disease Advisory Council. TNAAP supported this bill.
  • SB2136/HB2318 by Senator Shane Reeves and Representative Ryan Williams. Established scope of practice for physician assistants and allows for rules governing collaborative practice agreements between physician assistants and physicians. For a physician assistant to be able to enter into a collaborative practice agreement, the physician assistant must have at least 6,000 hours of documented post-graduate clinical experience, have a physician willing to enter a collaborative agreement, and meet other such requirements set forth in rules. TNAAP supported this bill as a member of the Coalition for Collaborative Care. 
  • SB2151/HB2861 by Senator Jack Johnson and Representative Michelle Carringer. Prohibits a healthcare provider from coercing a person to receive a vaccination, misrepresenting that a vaccination is required by state law when there is an exemption, or misrepresenting that a newborn screening test is required by state law when state law does not require such screening. We amended the bill in the House by adding several definitions to make it more palatable. It passed the House and Senate in different versions and was referred to a conference committee to reconcile the differences. While not perfect, we were able to keep the definition of coerce in the majority report that was adopted. Representative Ryan Williams and the House sponsor, Michele Carringer, were instrumental in allowing us to amend the bill. 

Bills that failed or were taken off notice for the year: 

  • SB208/HB255 by Senator Adam Lowe and Representative Kevin Raper. Requires school board develop a free school breakfast and lunch program for students. Requires the state to cover the cost that each LEA would incur after federal funds have been applied. Failed in House K12 subcommittee. TNAAP supported this bill.
  • SB1797/HB1986 by Senator Joey Hensley and Representative Jody Barrett. Prohibits DCS from accepting anonymous reports for child abuse or neglect. Failed in Children and Families subcommittee. TNAAP opposed this bill. 
  • SB2641/HB2452 by Senator Joey Henley and Representative Tom Leatherwood. Removes authority from CDC and AAP to recommend vaccinations for children under two and replaces it with the Commissioner of Health. This bill passed the house and the Senate Judiciary committee but did not get voted on in the Senate Health committee, therefore is dead for the year. TNAAP opposed this bill. 
  • SB2176/HB2902 by Senator Joey Hensley and Representative Sabi Kumar. Parental consent to vaccinations fix. This bill attempted to amend legislation that passed during that 2023 session that required parental consent for all vaccinations for minors up to age 18 and required DCS to receive consent from the biological parent of the minor. The bill attempted to do 3 things: 1) establish a grandfathering provision for children in DCS custody prior to the effective date of the act, 2) make clear that verbal and blanket consent can be given for vaccinations, and 3) clarify that once consent is given, another trusted adult can accompany a minor to the healthcare visit. TNAAP chose to ask the sponsors to withdraw this bill after an amendment had been put on the bill that would require written parental consent for all vaccinations in the House Health subcommittee.  

AAP Legislative Conference Sponsorship

Every year TNAAP sponsors Tennessee Residents and Early Career Physicians (defined as first 10 years of practice) to attend the AAP Advocacy Conference held in March.

“I want to say a huge thank you to all of the members of TNAAP for allowing me the opportunity to attend the AAP National Conference and Exhibition. I can’t possibly summarize all of the numerous amazing encounters I had. Nevertheless, please know that your support provided a future pediatrician with an unforgettable experience, and I truly hope that the ideas I brought back to my program will provide tangible benefit to the state of Tennessee.”
– Matthew Holland, DO, PGY-1 Pediatrics, University of Tennessee, College of Medicine – Chattanooga

Advocacy Education Series

TNAAP hosted four virtual advocacy sessions during 2020. We partnered with our lobbying firm, Schmidt Government Solutions, and the family advocacy organization, The Tennessee Justice Center, to address important topics of interest.

The four Tennessee residency programs participated along with other TNAAP members!

Missed a Session? View Recordings Here

Session 1: Intro to the Series, AAP Early Career Resources & Learning to Become an Effective AdvocateClick Here to Watch

Session 2: Understanding Health Disparities, COVID Mental Health and COVID ImmunizationsClick Here to Watch

Session 4: Mitigating Barriers for Families and Children’s Access to Health InsuranceClick Here Watch

Get Involved

Contact to find out how you can become a part of the TNAAP advocacy team.