What’s happening in the states: September 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.

Since our last monthly update

Since the launch of our new mobile advocacy program in August, our Advocacy Team has been sending out text message action alerts to advocates who live in Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina. If you live in any of those states, click on your state’s link to join in and take action!

There is living donor protection legislation pending in all three states, and it’s extremely important for lawmakers to hear from people who live in their districts—especially AKF Ambassadors—about the importance of living organ donation, so they will ensure the bills are considered to become laws. These vital pieces of legislation would prevent insurance companies from discriminating against living organ donors by charging them higher premiums or refusing to insure them altogether. Removing financial burdens like this, and providing incentives for living donors, can lead to an increase in organ donations, which will ultimately save more lives.

Ohio’s living donor bill, HB 188, was heard twice in the Senate Insurance Committee, a great next step in the legislative process, as the Ohio House of Representatives has already passed the bill. Committee members heard from advocates who support this legislation. Since HB 188 is now in the Senate, the bill has a greater likelihood of passing in this chamber and making its way to the governor’s desk to become a law.

The power of social media advocacy

In addition to sending emails or testifying in a hearing on bills, one of the most effective ways you can advocate for kidney health is by using social media to contact your lawmakers. The average state legislature has nearly 70% of their members on Twitter. While sending emails is just as important, using a public platform like Twitter to communicate with your elected officials can have a major impact. In fact, some recent studies show that it only takes a few social media messages to get a lawmaker’s attention! That is why we are strongly encouraging all AKF Ambassadors to contact your state lawmakers through social media in our latest advocacy campaigns.

To get more involved in your state and start tweeting your lawmakers, sign up to join AKF’s mobile advocacy network by clicking here, or you can text the word “KIDNEY” to the number 52886. After you’ve signed up, we will text you to let you know what you can do to help pass laws in your state that improve the lives of those fighting kidney disease and remove barriers for living organ donors. The mobile advocacy network is a great way for you to stay up to date on your state’s actions around kidney health so you can let your state lawmakers know that passing these policies is important to you!

How can you help?

All these bills have a better chance of moving through the legislative process with your help! If you live in Michigan, Ohio or North Carolina and 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:

If you don’t live in one of those three states, you can still get involved! Please also follow us on Twitter @akf_advocacy, 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 or clicking here, so we can text you as soon as there is an opportunity to take action on legislation in your state. We look forward to working with you!


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.