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Legislation and our livelihood.

Spotting the trends in legislation and preparing to support them or defeat them can be key to the survival of our professional satisfaction.

Every dental assistant works under a state specific Dental Practice Act which controls his or her professional duties. These duties vary dramatically from state to state. But often what is happening in one state can be a harbinger of things to come in another state.

That is why it is import to know what is happening in your state. Is there someone in your state association who tracks and reports on legislative matters affecting dental assistants? Dental Board of Examiner meetings are open to the public. Attendance at these meetings not only keeps your state association aware of current developments, it provides visible proof of the professionalism of dental assistants. Also, it presents an opportunity to express our opinions in the early states of proposed change.

The ADAA also needs to be current on legislative activities in each state--not just on what has happened but on what has been proposed and may soon become part of the rules and regulations governing dental assistants in your state. Some states--Indiana, Michigan, California, Minnesota, Virginia, for Instance--have reported to the national conference the activity and results of their efforts. But solid lines of reporting between states and the national organization need to be developed so that vital information can be shared with everyone.

In the near future, I will be contacting every state president to ask for a name of a member who would be willing to share, by mail or e-mail, the activities affecting dental assistant legislation in each state in the U.S. We will ask only that those named report on a bimonthly basis any pertinent legislative activity in their state. This will be particular[y helpful in evaluating requests for Legislative Assistance Funding.

Legislative Assistance Program

Each year, a budget is created for the purpose of assisting state components of the ADAA with funds for legislative activities. The funds are available through two programs: the Legislative Assistance Program (Form 014) and the Emergency Legislative Assistance Program (Form 015). The permissible use guidelines for the funds are the same for both programs: transportation for legislative activity (representatives of state associations and ADAA); retainer fees (lobbyist, attorney, etc.); legislative printing, postage, telephone charges; legislative public relations.

The complete criteria for use of the funds and the application process are available from the ADAA central office.

Legislative Guide

Also available from the Central Office is the ADAA Legislative Guide. This publication provides information on several topics related to lobbying and the legislative process:

* How a bill becomes a law

* Sample rules of the house and the senate

* How to lobby

* How to select an attorney

* Sample letters


A copy of the Guide on CD may be obtained from Central Office.

Legislative activity affects our entire lives. When it affects the way we earn our living, our professional integrity, our access to care and treatment, we need to be involved! Please help ADAA to be informed and up to date by communicating with us. We want to be involved and be of assistance to you. We look forward to your input and to working with you.

Sheryl Stuewe, CDA, is ADAA's Eleventh District Trustee and a past president of the Utah Dental Assistants Association. She also serves as ADAA's national chair of the Council on Legislation. In 2001 she was recognized for her continuing volunteer work for the Dental Assistants Association and on behalf of others and received the Sullivan-Schein Award of Excellence at both the regional and national level. She is employed by the Utah Department of Health.
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Title Annotation:American Dental Assistants' Association needs members to monitor state legislation
Author:Stuewe, Sheryl
Publication:The Dental Assistant
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Previous Article:I've sent in my dues ... now what? When will I receive confirmation and a new member or renewal kit?
Next Article:Fellowship in the ADAA.

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