Texas Dental Association Legislative Day
Every odd numbered year, the Texas Legislature convenes in attempt to solve the state’s biggest problems, and in that process they often create new problems that we didn’t even know existed. Regardless of the political landscape of any particular year however, there are always medical/dental issues that arise that our dental community needs to be aware of.
I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times I have written about or spoken to this message, but the actions of our state legislature are 100% responsible for the rules and regulations under which we are required to operate our profession. To our newer members, or even long-time members wondering about their return on investment in dues, read carefully (and to the end). Every rule or regulation that we are required to follow is written in law or code. Although the TSBDE is our “governing body,” that organization is a state run and state appointed body. The Dental Practice Act is a state law, and it can be changed by our legislators. Every legislative session, bills are introduced that would either positively or negatively influence the way you run your office. When a dental/medical/insurance bill comes up for vote on the House floor, how does your state representative (a school board member/farmer/accountant/home-maker/small business owner) know how he or she should vote? His or her constituents are certainly not writing letters expressing their wishes on such an issue. The answer is that they listen to YOU. The biggest “return on investment” in your dues dollars is that we are members of one of the strongest and most influential grass-root networks in the medical arena. CADS sends delegates to the TDA House of Delegates. The TDA House of Delegates democratically decides what positions or directions we would like to see in the profession, and then the TDA communicates our positions to our legislators. We are able to do this with campaign contributions through DENPAC (you donate right? Only 17% of TDA members donate to DENPAC, but we’re Austin…we’re bigger and better than everyone else) and through our direct interactions with our lawmakers. TDA Legislative Day is an event in which CADS members swarm the capitol and make our presence and wishes known to our legislators. During this 86th Texas Legislature, your CADS Legislative Team had the awesome experience of taking 20+ members and visiting with an unprecedented number of local state representatives and senators. YOU and your involvement with organized dentistry, whether direct or indirect, made a difference. Without your effort, the landscape in which you practice would undoubtedly change for the worse, but we continue to fight for what we know is in the best interest of our patients and our profession, and we continue to win.
By Jonathon R. Kimes, DDS