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Legislative Corner

with Kay Ball, PhD, RN, CNOR, CMLSO,FAAN

March 2019

So Who is Leading the House & Senate Health Committees?


Ohio House Health Committee

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Rep. Derek Merrin Rep Don Manning


January 1, 2019 began the 133rd General Assembly (GA) in Ohio. The House has some new members (some who just served as Senators) who have been assigned committees to serve on for this GA. The Health Committee is one that the nursing community closely monitors for any healthcare issues that may surface. The Health Committee is chaired by State Representative Derek Merrin, R-47 (includes portions of Fulton and Lucas counties,), who is currently serving his second term in the Ohio House. He was appointed in 2016. He sponsored the Epinephrine Accessibility Act which was signed into law by Governor John Kasich during the last GA. The Vice Chair of the House Health Committee is State Representative Don Manning, R-59 (includes most of Mahoning County) who is serving his first term in the House.


Ohio Senate Health Committee

Sen. Dave Burke Sen. Stephen Huffman


The Senate Health, Human Services, and Medicaid Committee for the 133rd GA is chaired by Dave Burke (R-26) which includes Crawford, Marion, Morrow, Sandusky, Seneca, Union, and Wyandot counties. Senator Burke is a pharmacist and a small business owner. He previously served as chair of this committee. He has been a critical supporter to stop prescription drug abuse in the war on opioids. The Vice Chair of this committee is Stephen Huffman (R-5) which includes Darke (part), Miami, Montgomery (part) and Preble counties. Dr. Huffman has been a practicing physician and is serving his first term in the Ohio Senate.

February 2019

We begin the U.S. 116th Congress (January 3, 2019 to January 3, 2021) with three nurses serving in the House. This is a start, but we need more. Here is information about them that is taken from https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/advocacy/federal/nurses-serving-in-congress/

Congresswoman Karen Bass

Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA-33)

Karen Bass is the U.S. Representative for California's 33rd congressional district. She has been selected by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to serve on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee which sets the policy direction of the Democratic Caucus. Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland appointed Bass to serve as an Assistant Whip. Prior to her serving as the current Representative for CA-33rd, Karen Bass made history when the California Assembly elected her to be its 67th Speaker, catapulting her to become the first African American woman in the country to serve in this powerful state legislative role.


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Congresswoman Diane Black (R-TN-06)

As a small business owner, former educator and registered nurse for over 40 years, Congressman Diane Black brings a unique perspective to her work in Washington. From starting two family-owned businesses, Black understands how to balance a budget, invest and hire new employees and grow a company without the help of government. From her work in the health care field, Black learned first-hand the importance of high-quality care and the obstacles faced by both patients and providers. She began her career as an emergency room nurse, but also served as a long-term care nurse and worked as part of an outpatient surgery team.


U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, Representing the 30th District of Texas

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30)

Congresswoman Johnson studied nursing at St. Mary's College at the University of Notre Dame. She returned to Texas when she successfully passed the National Board Examination in Nursing. She later became Chief Psychiatric Nurse at the VA Hospital in Dallas and received a bachelor's degree in nursing from Texas Christian University in 1967. She received a master's degree in public administration from Southern Methodist University in 1976. Congresswoman Johnson is the first nurse to be elected to the U.S. Congress.