TAND Advocacy & Public Policy Updates
Raw Milk Legislation: SUCCESS!
Legislation that regulates raw milk in Tennessee was finally passed and signed on June 22, 2020 by Governor Lee! TAND is grateful for all of your support and the sponsorship from Senator Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville) and Representative Patsy Hazlewood (R-Signal Mountain). This legislation will go into effect October 1, 2020 and include the following:
- Gives raw milk farmers the option of completing a safe milk handling course offered by the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Services.
- Lays out the procedures for farmers operating a herd share program.
- Includes a process for handling contaminated milk.
- Includes civil penalties for farmers failing to comply with this legislation.
Tennessee SNAP & School Meal Programs Need YOUR Support
Lauren Steele & Christy Davis had the opportunity to participate in a discussion with Senator Alexander’s liaison (Brandon Morton) and multiple representations across the state in support of funding for SNAP and School Meal programs. Details of this conversation are below.
Our state senate needs to hear from our members regarding support for a stimulus package to continue supporting these programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CLICK HERE to add your name!
School meals in the next stimulus package:
- Provide funding relief for school nutrition programs to cover costs incurred during the pandemic response and school closures. Currently participation is down 30-50% but there are additional costs based on the current state. School meals have another funding source that is used during the school year but the concern is that due to the nature of current increased cost, schools will have to dip into this funding. Brandon mentioned his strong relationships with 2nd Harvest and Feeding America.
- Extend the Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) through the summer
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for food service workers and other staff handling meal preparation and distribution. Not in budgets!! This is apparently a HUGE concern of Sen Alexander.
SNAP in the next stimulus package:
- Increase the maximum benefit available to all households by 15 percent (this would provide individuals with an average of an additional $25 per month). Congress provided a similar boost during the Great Recession and it was effective at reducing hunger and poverty and providing an economic stimulus. SNAP contributes to health and economy. Every dollar spent with this benefit boost the economy by $1.50. There was a reference mentioned on the call similar to the 2008-2009 economic crisis.
- Increase the minimum benefit per month from $16 to $30.
- Suspend implementation of all administrative rules that restrict access for millions of people. Congress should also suspend the three-month time limit for adults with barriers to work not raising minors for as long as the economy is vulnerable. Many of these rule suspensions will expire with the school year starting. We proposed to extend these rule suspensions such as meals consumed at home vs congregate feedings and providing more than 1 meal at a time to recipients.
Academy Action Alerts
There are currently 2 important action alerts where your voice needs to be heard! In fact, the Academy has opened these alerts for nonmembers as well so please share with friends, family, and colleagues that may not be a part of our organization.
Stand Up for Important Nutrition Issues in Next Stimulus Package
Medical Nutrition Therapy Act 2020
AND Members can click the link above to be directed to Advocacy Center after logging into the Academy site. If you would like to share with nonmembers, CLICK HERE for the link! Information regarding both alerts is available on the action alerts site. Thank you!
UPDATE: Medical Nutrition Therapy Act
As many of you are aware, an inaccurate summary of the MNT Act was recently published on Congress.gov. However, the summary has been corrected and now accurately states that the bill would allow other provider types to refer their patients for MNT. The Academy worked with Representative Eliot Engel’s staff to resolve this issue. These summaries are created by individuals who are not directly involved in the legislation and errors sometimes occur. To review the corrected information, CLICK HERE.
The Academy has also launched a story telling campaign so members like YOU can share your stories and successes of MNT. They are primarily looking for stories about older adults that illustrate the effectiveness of MNT services, as well as stories about any time you might have been unable to see a patient due to lack of Medicare coverage for their disease state or condition. Have a great story? SHARE IT HERE!
Please contact Christy or Lauren for any questions on this extensive advocacy update!
ChristyDavis@iammorrison.com (TAND President Elect)
Lauren.Steele@stjude.org (TAND Public Policy Coordinator)