What’s happening in the states: August 2021

Welcome to our What’s happening in the states blog series, where we provide monthly legislative updates on what the American Kidney Fund (AKF) is working on across the country to improve the lives of those living with kidney disease and protect living organ donors.

This month, our Advocacy Team has been working to launch a new mobile advocacy program. Through this new program, we can send you text message updates about what is happening in your state legislature and ways to take action on important pieces of legislation in your state. You can sign up to join our mobile advocacy network by clicking here, or you can text the word “KIDNEY” to 52886. This is a great way for you to let your state lawmakers know how important passing positive kidney policies is to you!

We also encourage all AKF Ambassadors to contact their state lawmakers through social media and email. As you can imagine, social media has revolutionized advocacy and the way lawmakers communicate with their constituents (people who live in their districts). Twitter is an extremely effective way to communicate with your state senator or representative because it is the most direct way to connect with them. We are more than happy to provide you with tips on reaching out to your lawmakers, so please feel free to contact us at the email addresses below if you need some assistance.

Since our last monthly update

While many states’ legislative sessions have already ended for the year, we are still pursuing bills that provide protections for living organ donors in Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina. Right now, senators in Michigan are considering Senate Bill 584. This important legislation would prevent insurance companies from discriminating against living organ donors by charging higher premiums or refusing to insure them altogether. Providing incentives and removing financial burdens for living donors can lead to an increase in organ donations and fewer people on the kidney transplant waiting list.

If you live in Michigan, please take just two minutes to contact your state lawmakers through our website to tell them that this bill is important to you!

Kidney disease prevention and education task forces

This year, Connecticut, Colorado and Louisiana signed into law legislation to establish a kidney disease task force in each of their states. State task forces will study kidney disease and prevention, and make policy recommendations to state lawmakers that we hope will result in positive changes for people living with kidney disease.

Recently, these states nominated members to serve on their task forces, including elected members from both the House and Senate, and unelected members from a variety of patient organizations and health providers. We are working with them to nominate patient advocates that will represent patient perspectives from the kidney community on behalf of AKF.

We also aim to introduce these task force bills in Oregon and Oklahoma in 2022. If you are interested in being part of one of these task forces in your state, please contact us!

How can you help?

All these bills have a better chance of moving through the legislative process with your help! If you would like to contact your state lawmakers about these bills, or help with written or live testimony during bill hearings, please reach out to us:

Please also follow @akf_advocacy on Twitter, where we provide real-time updates on state activity and other important advocacy information.

And of course, don’t forget to join us right from your cell phone by texting “KIDNEY” to 52886. We look forward to working with you!

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About the Author

Melanie Lendnal and Lindsay Gill

Melanie Lendnal is the senior director of state policy & advocacy, and Lindsay Gill is the associate director of state policy & advocacy, at the American Kidney Fund.