February 12, 2019
Early this morning MFT graduate students and LMFT professionals traveled from across the state and gathered at the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville to rally for TNAMFT’s first Day on the Hill. Three legislators spoke to the high impact of face-to-face interactions in advocating for your profession and welcomed stronger relationships with constituents. Former TNAMFT Legislators of the Year and mental health champions pictured below are (L to R) Senator Richard Briggs, Representative Sam Whitson, and Representative John Ray Clemmons.
The group was dismissed to meet with state lawmakers in individual meetings to champion the profession and ask for support for key bills at play in the Tennessee Legislature. Hopefully, you have seen the memes on our Facebook Page and blurbs in our monthly E-Briefs for this event.
Now, it’s your turn.
TNAMFT needs your advocacy support NOW. The Legislative Committee is issuing an advocacy Call to Action for two state bills and one national bill.
The most urgent bill is the Board for Licensed Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Clinical Pastoral Therapists sunsets in 2019. Senate Bill 98 would renew our board until the year 2023, offering protection not only for our LMFT license but also for the rules that govern our profession in Tennessee. Senate Bill 98 has been added to the Government Operations Committee agenda for Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 9:30 am. It is expected to move to the House Government Operations Committee in the coming weeks.
1. Identify your TN Lawmakers and plan to a time to contact him or her at your earliest convenience.
2. Review the PDF summary of two state bills that you, as a constituent, are asking your legislator to support.
A brief summary of each bill and corresponding talking points from our lobbyist are included in the PDF below.
- Board Renewal. BOARD FOR LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS, LICENSED MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS & CLINICAL PASTORAL THERAPISTS - SB98 (Roberts)/HB430 (Martin)
- Change to Even Year Requirement - SUICIDE PREVENTION TRAINING - SB204 (Briggs)/SB36 (Whitson)
• Add LMFTs to the Student Loan Reimbursement program - SB771/HB879 (Yarbro)/HB879 (Dixie). Review this bill so that you know where we stand. However, you do not need to advocate for this bill at this point in time as it has not moved to committee.
3. Call, email, or visit your lawmakers in their local offices.
If you make a phone call, you will most likely speak to an aide, but it’s certainly possible you’ll be connected to a legislator. Identify yourself as a constituent and Marriage and Family Therapist, and include that you are a member of Tennessee Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Ask for support of each bill in a simple, straightforward message. Each contact from a constituent is logged by the aide as one voice of support or one voice of opposition for each bill.
Let us know which state lawmakers you contacted through a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you make a personal visit, ask the lawmaker for a photo together to post - they love the publicity. Post your action of advocacy, send it to the legislator, and send it to us to post on our FB page!
4. Please Like, Share, & Tweet our Day on the Hill posts to amplify our efforts in Tennessee.
Watch the TNAMFT Facebook page, AAMFT Twitter and AAMFT Family TEAM, or MFT university program social media for photos with these hashtags. If you post your photos with the legislator in the coming days, please use the same hashtags below.
5. Pivot to National Advocacy - Medicare Inclusion
Tennessee MFTs, let’s pivot to the national scene. Identify your members of Congress and repeat the process - call, email, or visit each one to ask for his or her support of the newly refiled LMFT Medicare Inclusion bill. Enclosed is a link for you to identify and contact your members of Congress. There is also a pre-written letter provided that you may elect to sign upon review. This system also allows AAMFT to track which members of Congress are connected to MFTs in Tennessee.
A brief video and article about MFT Inclusion in Medicare may be found under the Family TEAM tab on the AAMFT website or by clicking here:]
A PDF summary of talking points for Medicare Inclusion is also included below.
TNAMFT Federal Policy Concerns 2019 .pdf
Thank you in advance for responding to our Call to Action,
The TNAMFT Legislative Committee