TNP Legislative Update
TNP Legislative Update:
SB 406 was finally referred to the House Public Health Committee this week and we are getting word that it could be heard as early as April 10. We will make sure you receive notice once the hearing is scheduled.
If ever you were going to come to Austin for legislative visits, now is the time. Legislators need hear the views of their constituents when it comes to important matters such as SB 406. I would like to publicly acknowledge Anna White, John Stevens, and Henry Guevara, all nurse practitioners that came to Austin this week for meetings with legislators. In fact, all three of these nurse practitioners have been actively involved in our grassroots efforts for a long while now.
To get a better feel for what you can expect during legislative visits, John, a private practice owner in Dallas and one of our own NTNP members shares his experience below from this past week’s visit.
The next month will be important in determining whether or not SB 406 passes. If you want to join others like Anna, John and Henry, email David Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will get you scheduled. Now, let’s get to John’s summary.
Robert Metzger, TNP Dallas/Denton Representative
Almost 3 years ago I made the commitment to TNP’s grassroots plan of meeting and building relationships with legislators. This legislative session, I once again decided to take up the cause and do my part to help better the regulatory environment for nurse practitioners in Texas.
This past Wednesday I arrived in Austin around 9:00 am by way of Southwest Airlines and took a cab to the Capitol. I met David Williams and other volunteers in the Capitol Rotunda where we briefly reviewed materials to be delivered to legislators. While the 4 of us discussed the expectations for the day, we quickly realized that the medical associations also had their members in town. No matter where we went, we were surrounded by hundreds of physicians, residents, and medical students wearing white lab coats.
Our meeting schedule began at 10:30 am and after 5 meetings, the day ended at 1:30 pm. David scheduled each appointment, provided us with handouts in advance, provided us with TNP folders upon arrival, and then attended every meeting with us. In addition to meetings, we had lunch in the Capitol Grill, sat in the Senate Gallery listening to debate on a bill, and got to meet Tim Flynn, the nurse practitioner who provides care to Capitol staff and the thousands of visitors that roam the halls each year.
I have to say that each meeting is almost identical. After exchanging pleasantries with office staff, we sit down and moved immediately to discussing SB 406. It quickly dawned on me that had our TNP representatives not negotiated with the medical associations, we wouldn’t be talking about a bill making its way through the process. Each office noted their appreciation that APRNs worked with the medical associations for a compromise. While its true that SB 406 doesn’t get us to independent practice, it does represent a step forward and gets us closer to our ultimate goal.
I have talked with a number of my colleagues who say they don’t have time, are nervous about meetings, don’t know the talking-points, or just believe it wont make a difference. The people you meet at the Capitol are human just like you and I. If we don’t take the time to build relationships with legislators and to rightfully promote our profession, I can assure you there are hundreds of others out there that will do it for us. In fact, I saw hundreds of them on Tuesday as they were out representing the medical associations and their view of nurse practitioners. I implore you to get involved to make sure that OUR message is being shared with and being heard by legislators.
Sincerely, John Stevens.