While most states have laws permitting stock epinephrine in K-12 schools, before 2022, only one state explicitly had a childcare center specific law permitting stock epinephrine. While some states have non-school entity laws that mention childcare centers or daycare, only Texas had a standalone law. As many young children have their first allergic reactions in childcare facilities, it is extremely important that centers have the ability to have stock epinephrine on site.
How We Got Started
For the 2022 legislative session in Louisiana, Dr. Alice Hoyt, Code Ana’s Executive Director and local board-certified allergist, worked with Representative Stephanie Hilferty to write the original language of the bill. Through the session, Rep. Hilferty and Dr. Hoyt worked with other organizations and departments that would be impacted by the law. At the end of the session, the law passed easily through the Education Committee of both the Louisiana House and Senate – with Code Ana staff present for questions at each of those meetings. Once the bill was out of committee, the bill passed on the main floors of both the Senate and House, getting signed by the Governor over the summer.
What The Law Included
The new stock epinephrine law for childcare centers requires one staff member of a childcare center to be educated about stock epinephrine and permits the center to have stock epinephrine on site after training is complete. While requiring stock epinephrine could have been the goal, funding impacts bills with mandated devices from succeeding. The education required could be gotten through Code Ana, other organizations, local medical educators.
What We Learned During the Process
Rep. Hilferty was a champion for food allergy education as her family is directly impacted by food allergy. Finding a champion for your cause and your bill makes the process much easier. Along with finding a committed champion, understanding what existing organizations and departments are impacted can help move your bill along faster as you can remove roadblocks. Our bill was amended to include Louisiana’s Childcare Health Consultants (CCHCs) specifically as, in Louisiana, they are the people training childcare staff on all things health and medication related. Working with their advocates and lobbyists helped ensure that there would be no push back with the bill was passed.
What We Learned After the Process
The bill was enacted much faster than anticipated! While we knew the bill passed, the enactment was just a month after signing and we were in the middle of working with CCHCs and the Department of Education on how to prepare childcare centers for the new law. In looking back, it is important to speak with whoever would be enforcing the law – be it the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DOE), or another office. Catching those in the Early Childcare Office of DOE off guard with the passing caused a lot of communication issues to ensure that center directors had the most accurate information. While Code Ana offered one free course to all centers in Louisiana to help with this process, gaps still happened so improving that communication before passing the bill would have saved lots of confusion.
As Code Ana supports other states efforts for stock epinephrine laws and continued school safety supports in Louisiana, we have learned so much on how to make the legislative process as smooth as possible to ensure that our bills are successful both in session and in implementation. Let us know if you would like our support in your efforts to get a bill passed in your community!