State Public Policy
Legislative Update (December 2018)
Claire Hammer, RDN, CDE
Consumer Protection Coordinator
Who Will Be Your State Representative and Senator?
Elections in Michigan are now over and in January we will have many new faces in Lansing. Out of 110 State Representatives there will be 46 new Representatives and out of 38 State Senators there will be 30 new Senators. However, some of our new Senators were previously Representatives so they certainly arrive with lots of experience and opinions.
Our timing is perfect! Not only will the Michigan Academy be having Legislative Day on March 20 in Lansing but we as MAND members can take advantage of January and February (and maybe a few days in December!) to introduce ourselves to our new and re-elected Representatives and Senators. Send a congratulatory email on their successful election, a hand written note to their office, or meet them for coffee locally. If you recognize them at the grocery store, school, or church introduce yourself as one of their RD/RDN constituents. That’s all you have to do without taking up too much of their time. Wouldn’t it be great if many of them were already familiar with us when we meet with them again on Legislative Day?!
Legislators cannot possibly know about all professions and what they involve so it is up to us to inform and educate them. They truly are responsive and interested in their constituents. When we have a chance to sit down with them we want to convey that the RD/RDN is the nutrition expert and what our education and credentials are. At the same time we want to be very careful that we do not degrade another profession. Our Reps and Senators always find the variety of settings we work in very eye-opening and they are especially interested in students and where they are headed. When it comes time for our licensure bill, they will already know us and we will be comfortable asking for their support.
To see who your new or re-elected legislator will be on January 1, check the lists below. The House (www.house.michigan.gov) and Senate (www.senate.michigan.gov) websites will tell you who your legislators are currently and what your district is, if you are not sure.
We need your help as we move toward initiating our licensure efforts.
Each of us has one State Representative and one State Senator. How wonderful it would be if MI Academy members made contact with all 110 Representatives and all 38 Senators. Please let us know when you make contact with your new/re-elected State Representative and State Senator. Please email our executive director at email@example.com with their names, your district, home address and city.
Thanking all MAND members for taking the time to do this. Pursuing licensure will truly need to be a team effort to be successful!
SB 683 Acupuncture Licensure passed out of committee Dec 5. It now will go for a full House vote and then to Gov Snyder for signing. The Michigan Academy is neutral to this bill as it will not impact our practice in Michigan.
Legislative Update (March 2018)
Lynn Spalding, MEd, RDN, CSG, FAND
Public Policy Coordinator
For our profession, March is associated with National Nutrition Month and RDN Day. It is a great time to recognize the important work done by Michigan Academy members in a wide variety of settings- and the arena of Public Policy is no exception. There are many policy initiatives within our profession and outside our profession that can impact our daily work and the Public Policy Panel is working hard to represent your interests.
On the state level, acupuncturists and naturopaths have both introduced and re-introduced legislation for licensure. As part of their licensure, dietary or nutrition counseling is included as one component of their scope of practice. As we are NOT licensed, members of the Public Policy Panel are working with the National Academy to determine how this may impact our profession and what action steps may be needed. Another group is exploring the issue of RD/RDN services and Medicaid coverage. This is also a state-related issue and dietitian services are not currently covered by the state of Michigan.
At the Federal level, the National Academy continues to advocate for the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act, which would expand services to treat the obesity epidemic. Members of the Michigan Academy recently attended an Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. to network and meet with members of Congress. Actions for renewal of the Farm Bill are also currently in progress. This bill includes funding for nutrition education programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Nutrition Education, Obesity Prevention grants, and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. This bill also includes funding for research on agriculture and nutrition.
Currently, there are two open Action Alerts to communicate your support for these federal issues. Please use this link to express your support for these issues with your Senators and House Representatives: https://www.eatrightpro.org/action-center
Finally, as we move into spring and then summer, there will be many important elections at the state and national level that can have lasting impacts on food and nutrition policy. Several of our members have already scheduled meetings, attended fundraisers and are tracking policy initiatives. If you are interested in participating in attending a candidate’s event, you may submit a request for funds from the Michigan Academy Political Action Fund by contacting our Executive Director at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, please consider supporting the fund with your donations. Look for us at the Spring Conference!
Legislative Update (February 2018)
Claire Hammer, RDN, CDE
Consumer Protection Coordinator
The first half of the 2017-2018 Michigan Legislature was fairly quiet with little legislation affecting RDs/RDNs. As we now start the second half there are a few professional licensure bills we are monitoring, mainly Senate Bill 683, Impose Full Licensure on Acupuncturists. Currently, about 174 acupuncturists are registered with LARA in Michigan. SB 683 would expand their scope of practice to provide “dietary counseling in accordance with East Asian Medical Theory” including prescribing herbal remedies. The bill would also remove the direct MD or DO physician supervision requirement that is currently in place.
The Michigan Academy is exploring options on how to best approach both our Legislators and the writers of SB 683. We will keep you posted on SB 683 and any recommended actions for Michigan Academy members.
Continue visiting your State Representative or State Senator at coffee/office hours and town halls just to introduce yourself. Dates are usually on their facebook or website. We want our Legislators to know us, to be aware of our background, training, and expertise. We also want them to feel free to contact us as the experts in food and nutrition. Sign up for the newsletter they send out to constituents. It's a great way to get to know them and some of the bills they are sponsoring as well as some of their interests. Consider inviting him/her to your workplace or to a National Nutrition Month event you might be doing. Establishing this relationship with your Legislator now is critical when legislation that affects the RD/RDN is introduced. Knowing us is half the battle!
At least one third of the Michigan Legislature changes every two years. In nine months we will have a very big election with many new Senators, Representatives, and a new Governor. Your Legislator might be running again for another term. They are anxious to meet their constituents. Below are some handouts we used at Legislative Day which you are welcome to give to your Legislator. They also like stats about their districts on such concerns as food insecurity, obesity, diabetes. Email me and I would be happy to point you in the right direction to getting that information (email@example.com).
- The Top 10 Reasons to Visit an RDN
- RDNs bring Food and Nutrition Expertise to the Table
- MNT Effectiveness
If you visit your Legislator let us know! Contact the Michigan Academy’s Executive Director, Susanne Consiglio (firstname.lastname@example.org). Tell us who you visited and email us a photo if you took one! We’ll add the photo to our Michigan Academy Historical PowerPoint.
Meet your 2018-2019 Michigan Public Policy Panel:
- Michigan Academy President: Sarah Clark
- Michigan Academy President-Elect: Michelle Naylor
- Public Policy Coordinator: Sara Harmon
- State Policy Representative: Lily Doher
- State Regulatory Specialist: Sara Harmon
- Reimbursement Representative: Allison Tropf
- Consumer Protection Coordinator: Claire Hammer
- Delegate: Michele Nikolai