State Public Policy
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.
Contribute to the MI PAC, Experience PPW, and More! (January 2018)
Jevgenija Meyers, RDN
State Policy Representative
A new year and another new start! As we ring in the New Year we often think of changes we hope to make personally and professionally. In this ever-changing world, there is no better time than now to get involved in the course our profession will take.
The simplest way to advocate for the causes we care for is by contributing to the Michigan Political Action Committee. The MI PAC places a focus on food, nutrition, and health related issues. The funds pooled are used to support local pro-nutrition candidates in Michigan. Regardless of what happens with licensure, there are many other nutrition related causes and bills to support.
Donations will be accepted at the Spring conference in April (we can take up to $20 in cash, up to $100 we need name and home address, and over $100 we need to add occupation, employer and work address). A check made payable to Michigan Academy PAC can be mailed to the Michigan Academy directly at any time.
Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Michigan Academy)
c/o Susanne Consiglio, RDN Executive Director
22811 Greater Mack, Suite 105
St. Clair Shores, Michigan 48080
This is the final year for our current Governor Rick Snyder. Many candidates have been running for his position for months. We dietitians play a large role in this process by voting. Before we vote, it is important to do our research. Many resources are available to help us review the candidates so we may make informed decisions which shape the future for the Dietitians in Michigan. Resources like the League of Woman Voters www.vote411.org offer a great tool for educating yourself in a non-partisan way.
This past year Carl Christoph was able to attend a fundraiser for representative running for the Michigan State House of Representatives and Bethany Thayer a fundraiser for a candidate running for Governor. Carl and Bethany were able to attend these events with funds made possible by MI PAC. These fundraising events are a terrific opportunity to get one-on-one time with the candidates and discuss their positions on the issues and make our priorities heard. Before we vote in November, let’s choose to do our research for the right candidates. Do not hesitate to make your voice (and the voice for sound nutrition) be heard!
Nationally, the Public Policy Workshop (PPW) will be here before we know it. If you are ready to be more involved, step up, and take a stand for nutrition, consider attending PPW! PPW date for 2018 has not yet been released, but it is likely to coincide with FNCE 2018! This is a phenomenal opportunity to network and build relationships with fellow RDNs and national lawmakers.
Meet your 2017-2018 Michigan Public Policy Panel:
- Michigan Academy President: Rubina Haque
- Michigan Academy President-Elect: Sarah Clark
- Public Policy Coordinator: Lynn Spalding
- State Policy Representative: Jenny Meyers
- State Regulatory Specialist: Sara Harmon
- Reimbursement Representative: Allison Tropf
- Consumer Protection Coordinator: Claire Hammer
- Delegate: Michele Nikolai