ASHI President Elect Don Norman, ASHI Legislative Committee Co-Chair Andy Kasznay, COR member Kurt Salomon and I attended the National Conference of State Legislatures annual conference in Salt Lake City, July 20–22, and met numerous legislators from many states that were considering regulation and many that already had regulations in place.
This is the third year that ASHI has exhibited at NCSL, and it is becoming one of our most important legislative efforts, paying big dividends. NCSL is the bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of states, commonwealths and territories. NCSL provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policy-makers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues, and it is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of states in the
Each summer, NCSL brings together about 6,000 state legislators and staff, state and federal agency personnel, and government relations managers from corporations, associations and special interest groups for its annual meeting, the largest and most substantive of its kind in the nation. The exhibit hall had 325 booths. Speakers have included the president of the U.S., congressional leaders, cabinet members and experts from universities, think tanks and the private sector. More importantly, the NCSL annual meeting is known as the place to be if an organization is concerned about a legislative issue.
Our ASHI booth was well-received. We discovered many visitors to the booth were the sponsors for inspection bills in their states or were preparing to introduce legislation. We also had lobbyists stop and pick up our Position Statements.
California, Delaware, Kansas, Utah, Florida, Nebraska and Minnesota, states that are currently considering regulation, each had legislators pick up our Position Statements and discuss important aspects of good regulation. We talked to Rep. David Hogue, sponsor of a bill that didn’t make it this year in Utah. He was most impressed with
ASHI and its local members. We also talked to Sen. Jim Sebesta, the Majority Whip of the Florida Senate. These were just two of the influential movers and shakers we lobbied. We can’t overestimate the value that these contacts may have for the future of the profession in these states.
A good example is Kentucky. For the last two years, we talked to Kentucky lawmakers and staffers at NCSL, and this year Kentucky passed meaningful legislation to which ASHI contributed. The folks we met this year from Kentucky commented on the great contributions of local ASHI members, and they told us to keep up the good work for other states.
Some legislators were interested in the grading system and wanted to know why their state was not rated as “good” or, in some cases, “acceptable.” This was an opportunity to go over our Position Statement and point out where their laws were lacking. Maybe they needed stronger standards of practice, or maybe their exam wasn’t valid. Perhaps the education or experience requirements were lacking. The Report Card made it easy to see where any state could improve, and we urged them to revisit their rules and regulations. After all, laws are living things, and we can influence them after they are passed.
Many people dropped off their business cards so we can follow up with them and provide further support or information. The next step for the Legislative Committee is to follow up with the contacts we already have made and get them in touch with ASHI Members in their states. That’s how we are building a grassroots effort in all the states so that ASHI has a seat at the table.
The work that the Committee did at the NCSL meeting will pay huge dividends for the future as we get the message out about the importance of good regulation if regulation is appropriate. Thanks to all who attended and worked so hard for ASHI, and we’ll do it again next year in Seattle.