DOT8 Advocate Newsletter

August 3, 2020 I Volume 2, Issue 8
"I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe...Now it is your turn to let freedom ring."
--John Lewis
Federal Action Item
Tell your Senator, the HEALS Act is not enough.  This proposed legislation:
-Includes $400 per week cut to unemployment payments
-Provides no money for elections assistance
-Diverts federal money away from some public schools that need it more than ever
-Excludes 21 million immigrants with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers from receiving stimulus checks
-Shields employers from the responsibility of ensuring the safety of their workplaces via five years of liability immunity from coronavirus-related lawsuits

The AAP issued this statement with additional details on how this proposal falls short.

Instead, we need a coronavirus relief bill that includes:
-An extension of the full $600 per week emergency unemployment benefits introduced by the CARES Act in March

-Funding for election assistance so individuals can vote safely

-Adequate education funding so schools can open safely

-Equal support for immigrants to access relief aid

-No coronavirus liability immunity for businesses that fail to keep employees safe

The following organizations have take-action pages promoting additional specific asks: The AAP, Protecting Immigrant Families, and Food Resource and Action Center
Or contact your Senator on your own
Pediatrics on Call
A new, weekly, 30 min podcast on children's health from the AAP
TN Immunization Virtual Summit
August 21st, 2020
8:15 am to 4:30 pm
Coronavirus resource spotlight - MNPS meals
Starting August 4th, while schools remain virtual, MNPS will provide grab and go breakfast (all no cost) and lunch (some no cost) daily (M-F) from 11:30 am to 1 pm at all schools.  More info, including costs for some students, available here 
Delivery meals are also available through bus routes and stops that would normally transport students to/from school.  Bus route times are available through the "Find My Stop" link here 
The 2020 Census is still LIVE!  Information collected will be used to shape funding decisions that impact our communities for the next decade.
Complete the Census by Oct 31

Federal Updates

Battling Racism in Healthcare
"Recognizing the role of race in health disparities especially important during COVID-19 pandemic."  Last month a resolution was introduced in the Senate declaring racism a public health crisis, and this resolution was endorsed by the AAP 
Episode 4 of the new AAP podcast includes reflection on the one-year anniversary of the AAP’s landmark policy statement on racism and child health.  Click image below to listen and learn.

CPF hosted a panel discussion on the issue of addressing racial and social inequality as a pediatrician. Click to watch.

Public Charge Halted

Last week, a federal court issued nationwide injunctions blocking any implementation of the Trump Administration’s new public charge regulations.  Learn more here and here
School Funding
We know children learn best when they are physically present in school, but we also know that school reopening must be done in a way that is safe for all students, teachers and staff. The AAP recently released guidance for reopening with evidence-based recommendations, and sent this letter to lawakers.  Schools need increased funding to make safe reopening possible. Ask your Senators to "Provide the Funding Schools Need to Reopen Safely."
The AAP has detailed their advocacy efforts related to school funding/safety as well as all additional advocacy efforts specific to COVID-19 here.
Contact my Senator

State Updates

Pandemic EBT

The deadline to apply for P-EBT funds has been extended to August 14th!
Already receive SNAP or Families First/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits?  No application is necessary. Funds began arriving on EBT cards starting June 12.

Not on SNAP but qualify for free or reduced school meals? Apply for P-EBT online by August 14th, 2020
**Many other states, including some of Tennessee's conservative neighbors, have waived the application process and, through school records, sent P-EBT cards directly to families whose children receive reduced-price meals.  Tennessee is one of only 17 states to require an application and thus is on track to leave roughly $60 million in federal funds on the table.  388,000 children who aren't on SNAP or TANF but are on reduced lunch qualify to apply for the P-EBT program.  Only 139,000, or 35%, have applied and been approved so far.**

P-EBT benefits will provide parents with $5.70 per child for each day that school was closed due to COVID-19 for a total of $250.80 per child.  Benefits will be issued in two installments. Meals received from an emergency site or school during the pandemic will NOT disqualify individuals from participating in P-EBT benefits. 

Health Disparities

TN Justice Center's division of health equity has released a Health Disparities Fact Sheet.  See how TN scored.  Learn more on TJC's dedicated Health Equity webpage.
Legislative Session Ends
TNAAP released a summary of their advocacy efforts during the 2020 State Legislative Session.