TCA Welcomes 111th General Assembly
The 111th General Assembly convened on Tuesday, January 9, 2019 at noon CST, when members of the House of Representatives and Senate took their oaths of office and officially elected their speakers. Congrats to returning Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge and newly sworn Speaker of the House Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin. In all, at least one fourth of the Tennessee General Assembly’s members will either be new to the legislature or will be seated in a different chamber.
The Tennessee Journal—Vol. 45, No. 3, Sec. 2 reposted with permission.
Chiropractic connections remain crucial for the profession to have a voice on “the Hill”. TCA’s professional lobbyists Alexanderia Honeycutt Gambrell and John Williams, as well as Executive Director Tiffany Stevens, have participated in various legislative functions leading up to the start of session including an event hosted by Republican Leadership and a small group sit-down with Governor-elect Bill Lee and Majority Leader William Lamberth.
Make sure the TCA is informed of your local relationships with legislators, and if you have not already, become a TCA Political Action Committee (TCA PAC) contributor. The TCA PAC supports state candidates running for State House or Senate, and helps to strengthen current relationships that are invaluable to the future of the profession in Tennessee. Click here to become a TCA PAC donor.
The TCA is working for you!
The TCA has a responsibility to our members as the only voice for doctors of chiropractic in Tennessee and we use that platform to relentlessly advocate for good public policy. This past year, your TCA lobbying team reviewed 3,210 bills to make sure our state lawmakers considered their impact, both positive and negative, on the profession and your patients. They maintained an active presence within the legislature’s 148 committees which handed down over 14,400 votes changing the face of Tennessee law.
Thank you for all who responded to our recent legislative survey. Your responses help drive the direction in our advocacy. We have several big priority items on TCA’s agenda planned for 2019, including ongoing insurance efforts/global reimbursement, opioid initiatives, inclusion of services in Medicaid/Tenncare, addressing concerns with massage establishment licenses and balance billing, as well as providing for a Practice Act Caption Bill.
As we begin this new session, the TCA looks forward to our continued work with returning legislators, and the opportunity to build relationships with new House and Senate members on behalf of the chiropractic profession and the patients you serve.
Special Recognition of Service: Rep. Beth Harwell
The TCA would like to thank outgoing Speaker Beth Harwell for her many years of dedicated service to the state of Tennessee. Chiropractic always found an open door at the legislative office of our state’s 1st female Speaker. From her ongoing initiatives for accessible high quality healthcare for Tennesseans to her family ties to the chiropractic profession affording a keen understanding of our causes, she was a proponent of numerous measures that have benefited the profession. We appreciate her long-time support and look forward to what her future endeavors hold.
Why is the TCA Unique When it Comes to Lobbying?
Our legislators as decision-makers do not always have experience or access to information on how their constituents and patients of chiropractic might be affected. It is our job as chiropractic advocates to educate our elected officials and be certain that they have the information they need to make the best decisions possible.
There is no shortage of paid lobbyists and special interests groups who aggressively try to influence Tennessee legislators; however, the TCA is the only statewide association advocating for chiropractic in the midst of numerous lobbyists for other provider groups, business interests, insurers and others. While our strong team of TCA lobbyists speaks out for chiropractic on “the Hill”, state legislators are most responsive to their constituents – people who vote in their districts. They also feel the need to know that a specific issue is a priority in their community, and it takes the people who live and work in the community to sway them.
Why is Lobbying Necessary?
The Tennessee Chiropractic Association encourages informed and active participation in government, with the aim to ensure that chiropractic physicians’ voices are an important part of political dialogue on issues impacting the profession.
As sessions become more and more fast-paced, we cannot be guaranteed that legislators have had the opportunity to fully review every bill that comes before them for their vote. It is our job as chiropractic advocates to educate our elected officials and be certain that they have the information they need to make the best decisions possible.
Legislators Need to Hear from You
Tennessee’s state senators and representatives come from diverse backgrounds; many are not healthcare experts and may have no chiropractic experience, yet they must vote on these issues when a bill comes before them. As a healthcare expert, you are uniquely qualified to help your elected representatives understand the practical implications of healthcare policy proposals. It is vital that legislators hear from you.
Click here to find your legislators.
What Can I Do?
It is the TCA’s goal to promote and secure passage of our legislative objectives by the state’s legislators. To focus the tremendous grassroots power of the chiropractic profession, your TCA has developed a Legislative Ambassador network. The aim of the program is to ensure that each and every member of the General Assembly has continual contact with, and input from, his/her local Doctors of Chiropractic. If you have a personal or good working relationship with one of Tennessee’s House or Senate Members or would like to initiate one, we want to know as this can be critical in the communication process to urgent legislative issues. The goal is never threaten or antagonize, but to build a relationship and influence discussion on the basis of your knowledge and understanding of the issue.
Below, the TCA has compiled a list to assist our members to be strong grassroots advocates for the chiropractic profession.