State Update

States Tackle Community Water Fluoridation

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 204 million people in the United States are served by public water supplies containing enough fluoride to protect their teeth. However, approximately 100 million Americans still do not have access to fluoridated water. Listed below are several bills currently pending in state legislatures which capture the public’s sentiment both for and against community water fluoridation. Kansas H.B. 2372, sponsored by the Committee on Federal and State Affairs, would require that all Kansas cities and other local governmental units providing artificially fluoridated water notify the consumers of treated water that the latest science confirms that ingested fluoride lowers the I.Q. in children. The bill would permit the notice to be included with, or printed on, water bills or by any other means that the city felt would adequately make the consumers aware of the findings. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services for consideration.   Missouri H.B. 1078 is sponsored by Rep. Donna Lichtenegger (R-MO), a dental hygienist with more than 30 years of experience. The bill requires any public water system or public water supply district intending to permanently cease fluoridation of its water supply to notify the departments of Natural Resources and Health and Senior Services and its customers of its intentions at least 30 days before any vote on the matter. In addition, the system or district must notify its customers by mail at least 30 days before any meeting at which the vote will occur. The Tourism and Natural Resources Committee voted to pass the bill on February 13, and the bill has since been referred to the Committee on Rules. New Jersey Sen. Joseph F. Vitale (D-NJ) has sponsored S. 1180, titled the “New Jersey Public Water Supply Fluoridation Act.” The bill requires the fluoridation of all public community water systems in New Jersey for the purpose of promoting public health through the prevention of tooth decay. Also, the bill provides that the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, in conjunction with the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, must adopt rules and regulations relating to the fluoridation of public community water systems. The bill has been referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee for consideration.

California May Expand Health Coverage to all Residents

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S.B. 1005, the Health for All Act, sponsored by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-CA), along with 16 co-sponsors, would use California state funds to expand eligibility in Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program) to those who meet financial requirements of less than $15,000 per year but cannot obtain insurance because of their legal status. Additionally, the bill would create a new health exchange where undocumented immigrants can purchase coverage. The bill also would require the governing board of the new exchange to provide premium subsidies and cost-sharing reductions to eligible individuals that are the same as the premium assistance and cost-sharing reductions the individuals would have received through the current exchange. Sen. Lara has stated that he balances the expense of expanding health care to all residents, regardless of their legal status, against the approximately $1.4 billion spent on emergency services each year for those who are not covered and do not have legal status. Of the estimated 2.3 million undocumented persons in California, some one million are without coverage. The estimated annual tax contributions of undocumented immigrants in California is $2.7 billion and 92% of this population live in working families, according to Sen. Lara. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health for consideration.

Gubernatorial Elections Will be Held in 36 States in 2014

State Policy | Permanent link

According to the National Governor’s Association (NGA), gubernatorial elections will be held in 36 states and three territories in 2014. Additionally, there are 31 incumbent governors eligible to run for reelection and eight incumbent governors who are term-limited or have announced they will not seek reelection. The primary elections will be held in most states between March and September 2014. To learn if your state will have a gubernatorial election during 2014, click here.

ADEA United States Interactive Legislative Tracking Map March 2014

State Policy | Permanent link

For additional information on state legislation affecting academic dentistry, please visit the ADEA United States Interactive Legislative Tracking map. The map is updated daily and will allow members to view: The current status of bills, Upcoming hearing dates, and Current bill text and bill author/sponsor information. To use the interactive map, visit www.adea.org/legislativemap.

Dental Amalgam Bills Filed in Maryland, New Jersey and Vermont

State Policy | Permanent link

On November 14, Delegate Alfred C. Carr, Jr. (D-MD) pre-filed H.B. 47. The bill requires the Department of the Environment to create a fact sheet on dental amalgam on or before January 1, 2015. 

ADEA United States Interactive Legislative Tracking Map February 2014

State Policy | Permanent link

For additional information on state legislation affecting academic dentistry, please visit the ADEA United States Interactive Legislative Tracking map. The map is updated daily and will allow members to view: The current status of bills, Upcoming hearing dates, and Current bill text and bill author/sponsor information. Please be advised that the ADEA United States Interactive Legislative Tracking map has been refreshed for the 2014 legislative session. Meaning, all legislation for the calendar year 2013 session, and the 2012-2013 session has been removed, except for final governor action which has not been completed and carryover bills (some states allow measures that were not final enacted during the last session or year to be carried over to the next session for consideration). However, newly filed and introduced legislation for the 2014 session will remain on the map. And of course, as new bills relevant to academic dentistry are introduced, the bills will be added to the map. To use the interactive map, visit www.adea.org/legislativemap.

Des Moines, IA, Discusses Water Fluoridation

State Policy | Permanent link

At the December 3 Board of Water Works Trustees’ Planning Committee meeting, Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) staff announced the utility, which serves approximately 500,000 customers in Central Iowa, will continue community water fluoridation at the current level of 0.7 mg/L. The issue was opened up for public comment at the October committee meeting and DMWW staff solicited comments, research and studies on fluoridation. According to DMWW, approximately 650 comments were received. The Board of Water Works Trustees held their regularly scheduled meeting, which includes a public comment period, on December 17, but took no action on the issue of community water fluoridation.

Missouri Hires a State Dental Director

State Policy | Permanent link

Missouri has hired B. Ray Storm, D.D.S., M.B.A., to serve as the new state dental director. The position had been vacant since 2003. Dr. Storm will lead and coordinate statewide efforts to address oral health for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS), MOHealthNet Division. The hiring of Dr. Storm to the position is due in large part to the efforts of Rep. Donna Lichtenegger (R-MO), who worked as a dental hygienist for nearly 40 years, and the members of the Missouri House Oral Health Issue Development Committee. Rep. Lichtenegger's committee worked with the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health, Missouri Dental Association and the Missouri Foundation for Health to bring the need for a dental director to the attention of the members of the Missouri General Assembly.

State Policy Updates January 2014

State Policy | Permanent link

Vermont On December 19, Sen. Kevin Mullin (R-VT) pre-filed S.B. 235. The bill authorizes a community dental health coordination pilot project and seeks to expand dental education in classroom settings. Specifically, S.B. 235 requires the Commissioner of Health, in consultation with the Vermont Oral Health Coalition, to design a Community Dental Health Coordinator Pilot Project for the purpose of increasing access to oral health care by using community dental health coordinators as members of dental teams in regions of the State designated by the Commissioner. The proposed bill defines Community Dental Health Coordinator as a dental assistant, dental hygienist or other trained dental professional certified by the Commissioner of Health to provide educational services, preventive and limited palliative care services, and dental assessment services in a variety of settings under the supervision of a licensed dentist.

ADEA United States Interactive Legislative Tracking Map January 2014

State Policy | Permanent link

For additional information on state legislation affecting academic dentistry, please visit the ADEA United States Interactive Legislative Tracking map. The map is updated daily and will allow members to view: The current status of bills, Upcoming hearing dates, and Current bill text and bill author/sponsor information. Please be advised that the ADEA United States Interactive Legislative Tracking map has been refreshed for the 2014 legislative session. Meaning, all legislation for the calendar year 2013 session, and the 2012-2013 session has been removed, except for final governor action which has not been completed and carryover bills (some states allow measures that were not final enacted during the last session or year to be carried over to the next session for consideration).  However, newly filed and introduced legislation for the 2014 session will remain on the map. And of course, as new bills relevant to academic dentistry are introduced, the bills will be added to the map. To use the interactive map, visit www.adea.org/legislativemap.