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 2023 session of the 113th Tennessee General Assembly (TGA) adjourned on Friday, April 21, 2023. The 113th TGA will reconvene on Tuesday, January 9, 2024. Governor Bill Lee has also announced that he will call for the TGA to convene a special legislative session on August 21, 2023 to “strengthen public safety and preserve constitutional rights” following the horrific Covenant School shooting on March 27, 2023.

There were many “wins” for children and for pediatricians during the 2023 TGA session. Multiple anti-vaccine bills failed. The Safe Stars Act was expanded to include community -organized youth sports and private schools. A bill that requires local education agencies (LEAs) to provide 6 weeks of paid maternity leave for licensed employees also passed. Both the Safe Stars bill and the maternity leave bill passed with bi-partisan support. In addition, the physician-led, team-based medical care model in Tennessee was preserved as APRN and PA independent practice bills again failed to advance during this session.

Unfortunately, the 2023 TGA session also included several significant setbacks for children’s health in Tennessee. Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 1, which banned all gender-affirming care for minors in Tennessee, passed. The new law is making national headlines as it is contested in the courts. TNAAP will continue to advocate for all children and families in Tennessee.  Two anti-vaccine bills also passed this year:  the Mature Minor Clarification Act (SB1111/HB1380) and another bill that created a homeschool immunization requirement exemption (SB644/HB252).  Both of these laws will decrease public confidence in vaccines and decrease the rates of routine childhood immunizations across Tennessee. TNAAP continues to work with partners across the state and nationally to better understand the legal implications of these new laws for pediatricians and to forge a path forward that will reduce the negative impacts of these laws on Tennessee children, families, and pediatricians.

After a week and two days of emotions, tensions, and objections, on August 29, 2023, the Tennessee General Assembly adjourned the First Extraordinary Session of the 113th General Assembly, Sine Die. It was a special session filled with tense moments between mothers and legislators, legislators and legislators, and everything in between. From court issued restraining orders and injunctions to a potential no confidence vote, the House definitely saw its share of conflict during the seven day session. The Senate held strong and only passed the 3 bills they had originally said they would pass, but came to an agreement with the House on the final day to include more funding for the Behavioral Health Safety Net and other items. 

Below is breakdown of what monies were spent and where: 

  1. $1.6M recurring for the gun safe locks program at Dept of Safety; (SB 7085 / HB 7012); 
  2. $1.1M non-recurring to the Dept. of Safety for the purpose of creating and implementing a public safety campaign dedicated to safe firearm storage; (SB 7085 / HB 7012);
  3. $10M non-recurring to the Dept. of Education for additional school safety grants in support of SROs in schools;
  4. $12.1M nonrecurring for retention and incentive bonuses for behavioral health employees at state contracted agencies in an effort to retain workers;
  5. $3M non-recurring for a scholarship program for Tennesseans seeking a behavioral health degree; 
  6. $4M non-recurring to the Dept. of Mental Health & Substance Abuse for the Behavioral Health Safety Net to be used for mental health services; 
  7. $30M non-recurring taken from the Dept. of Correction to provide school safety grants to public and private colleges in the state; 
  8. $50M non-recurring reverted by TennCare to provide grants to licensed community health agencies contracted with the Dept. of Mental Health; and
  9. Covers the operational costs of the special session.

On the final day, tensions soared in the House making finalizing the business on their desk impossible. (The only items left were some congratulatory resolutions that had been sent over by the Senate) The House ended abruptly and concurred in the adjournment Senate Joint Resolution, which passed the Senate several hours before with all Democrats voting against it. 

We do anticipate that the next Session starting in January will continue the conversation on public safety and mental health funding.  

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.