What's New at the TN Capitol

As cancer care professionals who experience the challenges of providing quality cancer care first-hand, TOPS members are well positioned to educate decision-makers on how coverage and reimbursement issues affect community oncology. State and federal legislation can have a significant impact on the financial viability of local cancer programs, which is why it's so important that our members make their voices heard.

In an effort to provide resources needed to effectively advocate on the issues that are important to them, our advocacy webpage features weekly legislation updates from the Tennessee General Assembly, local news, and more.

We want to hear from you! If there is a specific piece of legislation you want to know more about, an important resource we're missing, or if you want to get more involved, please contact us!

 

Legislative Developments

General Assembly Passes Major PBM Reform Legislation

Friday, May 7, 2021

A bill tightening regulations on companies that manage prescription drug benefits, known as Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or “PBMs,” passed the House and Senate on Tuesday.

SB1617/HB1398 carried by Sen. Shane Reeves, R-Murfreesboro, and Rep. Esther Helton, R-East Ridge, seeks to increase patient choice, access, and transparency in obtaining prescription drugs and address problematic practices employed by PBMs.

READ FULL UPDATE 


More Updates

Budget Amendment for FY22

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

On Tuesday, April 13, Gov. Bill Lee's budget amendment for FY22 was presented to the Finance Committee. 

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GOVERNOR LEE RENEWS PUSH FOR MENTAL HEALTH TRUST FUND

Friday, April 2, 2021

On Monday, Gov. Bill Lee reintroduced his Mental Health Trust Fund proposal in order to assist K-12 students struggling with mental health issues. A similar initiative was introduced last year during Lee’s State of the State address but was ultimately abandoned due to the pandemic.

The governor’s renewed push would allocate $250 million in available funds to help provide direct clinical services in schools such as increased counseling; violence and bullying prevention; suicide prevention and postvention strategies; and other trauma-informed, evidence-based programs.

Read Full Update

 

LAWMAKERS, GOVERNOR REACH CONSENSUS ON TANF BILL

Friday, March 19, 2021

The Lee Administration and a duo of legislators have reached an agreement on a single piece of legislation that outlines how the state will spend down the massive $700 million Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reserve. The federal TANF program is intended to assist low-income families by helping adults find work, advance their education, and build technical skills to combat poverty.

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HOUSE SCALES BACK COUNTY HEALTH BOARD AUTHORITY

Friday, March 12, 2021

In an apparent response to a disagreement in Knox County, a bill limiting the authority of local county health boards passed the House floor on Monday with a vote of 67-26.

SB15/HB7 by Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, and Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville, seeks to move county health boards to an advisory role during state of emergencies rather than allowing them the power to make their own policies. Under current law, only the state's six largest counties—Knox, Davidson, Hamilton, Madison, Shelby, and Sullivan—have this authority.

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SB 1617/HB 1398 Places Patients First in the Fight for Affordable Prescriptions

On February 18, the Tennessee Patients for Access, Choice, and Transparency (TN PACT) issued a press release applauding State Senator Shane Reeves (R-Murfreesboro) and State Representative Esther Helton (R-East Ridge) for introducing Senate Bill 1617/House Bill 1398.

TN PACT's goal is to address the five pillars of PBM practices that directly harm patients. These include 340B discrimination, specialty pharmacy discrimination, patient steering, spread pricing, and rebate retention.

Read Full Update

 

February 5, 2021

The General Assembly resumed its 112th session following its customary two-week organizational period. Over 700 bills have already been filed in the new session, an abundance of which are caption bills.

The supermajority Republican legislature has seemingly focused much of its attention this year around curbing local government’s authority to implement COVID-related regulations, including legislation that restricts government’s ability to implement mask mandates, limit large gatherings, and even prohibit private businesses from requiring their employees and customers to wear masks or receive vaccines.

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January 22, 2021

The Tennessee General Assembly convened this week for a special session under a narrow focus: respond to educational challenges related to the coronavirus and help school districts navigate the next academic year following 10 months of disruptions.

In a Joint Convention on Tuesday, Gov. Lee directed the legislature to take up three key initiatives that aim to address K-12 learning loss, improve literacy, and hold students, teachers, and schools harmless from student assessments.

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January 15, 2021

The first half of the 112th Tennessee General Assembly commenced on January 12, ushering in a wave of new lawmakers, committee appointments, and the election of constitutional officers. Among an array of changes, the most notable is the revamp of the 111th House committee assignments which lowers the amount of full standing committees to 40 from 43, and blends subcommittee structures to resemble those of former House Speakers Beth Harwell of Nashville and Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin.

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January 8, 2021

With the first year of the 112th General Assembly set to convene on  Tuesday, January 12 at noon, the legislature released its plan today on how it will be respond to business operations in the height of a pandemic.

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August 10, 2020

Following Thursday’s primary election, of the four Senators (3 Republican, 1 Democrat), and 23 Representatives (14 Republican, 9 Democrat) facing primary challengers, all but four will likely return to the legislature in 2021 to serve in the 112th General Assembly. As the legislature heads into its special session this week, the membership of the 111th General Assembly will remain true to its current form.

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July 29, 2020

A listing of all Tennessee primary and general election candidates in light of the approaching 2020 midterm elections.

Midterm Election Candidates

 

June 19, 2020

On Friday, June 19, the second half of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly concluded early morning. In what could effectively be deemed an “unprecedented” session, lawmakers were forced to pause business for eight weeks in March due to public health concerns arising from the pandemic. In a week’s time, the body passed “essential to function” legislation and an emergency budget.

Read Full Update

 

Legislation Tracker

4/5/21: Calendar Report

4/5/21: Bill Report

3/22/21: Calendar Report

3/19/21: Bill Report

3/15/21: Calendar Report

3/12/21: Bill Report






 

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