General Assembly of Georgia 2012 Legislative Report: Week One
As we begin the 2012 session of the General Assembly of Georgia, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of personal professional advocacy. It is vital for success for every Advanced Practice Nurse to develop a relationship with your State Representative and State Senator. Please, if you have not done so, go to www.votesmart.com, enter your zip code and find your state (not Federal, at this point) Representative and Senator. Write them a letter explaining your challenges in meeting the health care needs of your patients invite them to your clinic; make an appointment to see them. They care about the opinions and needs of constituents like you who either vote them in or out of office. As the session progresses, you will be asked to call your General Assembly members to ask them to support or oppose certain bills. If you have already established contact with them, your opinion will have more credibility and will better aid us in reforming the restrictive practice environment in Georgia. SO much of our opportunities for success truly depend upon you!
Legislative Priority: Discussions are underway with prominent Radiologists and members of the Board of the Georgia Radiological Society about the “in life threatening situations” statutory restriction related to the ordering of radiologic imaging scans. Removal of this restrictive language is the legislative priority for this year. I hope to be able to report on the results of these meetings next week.
Governor Nathan Deal made his 2nd State of the State Address in the House Chamber Tuesday evening highlighting his 2012 programs and budget priorities which focus on Education, Transportation, Water/Natural Resources, Criminal Justice Reform and Economic Growth and Job Creation. Please click on the link to read the full document. Next week the Governor and various state agencies will present their budgets to the General Assembly to begin the important legislative budget process to create our fiscal year 2013 state budget.
Bills of interest to date:
HB 470 relating to requirements for licensure as a registered professional nurse. This legislation is a “fix” for language in a bill that passed last year. The unintended consequence was the inability of the Board of Nursing to license in Georgia graduates of certain out of state educational programs. Early passage of this bill is a priority for the Chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee Rep. Sharon Cooper.
HB 673 Georgia’s Return to Play Act of 2012. This bill would establish a return to play policy for student athletes suffering from concussions. There is a statewide coalition of those interested in youth brain injury prevention working to support legislation of this type, but they support a broader approach that includes education for adults supervising children’s athletics. Discussions are underway between the Coalition and the bill’s sponsors.
Stay tuned for weekly updates during the session and tips on how you can become a better advocate for yourself, your profession and your patients
Submitted by Laura Searcy, UAPRN Health Policy Chair