Monday, March 18, 2013

Pending Legislation for Epinephrine Auto-Injectors in TN Schools

The TN House Education Subcommittee will be meeting tomorrow at 3 pm.  On the agenda is HB0866 which would require authorize all public and private schools to stock epinephrine auto-injectors to treat students in the event that their own auto-injector is unavailable or they are having an anaphylactic reaction for the first time while at school.  The bill stipulates that every school shall stock auto-injectors in at least 2 secured but unlocked locations such as the school office and cafeteria.

The bill is written in such a way that a school nurse or other trained personnel may utilize the auto-injectors for anaphylaxis under a standing protocol from a physician.  The prescribing doctor would be exempted from liability "unless the physician issued the prescription or standing protocol with intentional disregard for safety."  The school nurse or school employee administering the epinephrine would also be exempted from liability with the same phrasing.    

Assuming that HB0866 is passed by the Subcommittee, it will be presented to the full House Education Committee at noon on Tuesday, March 26.

You may wonder why this bill is important.  The following are statistics pulled from FARE's website.

  • Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, including 1 in 13 children.  That works out to roughly 2 children per classroom.
  • Failure to administer epinephrine promptly after an allergic reaction begins is a significant risk factor for fatal anaphylaxis.
  • Teens are among the group of patients with the highest rates of fatality due to food-induced anaphylaxis.
  • Food allergies can begin at any time, even to foods that have previously been consumed with no ill effects.
  • 20 - 25% of anaphylactic reactions in a school setting occur when there was no previously known food allergy

Now for the most pressing question.  What can we do to help our House Committee members understand the importance of this bill?
  • Show your support for the bill by appearing in Legislative Plaza when the bill is presented Tuesday, March 19 at 3 pm and/or on Tuesday, March 26 at noon.  (You do not have to speak!)  Please email Andrea at if you are able to attend in order to work out the logistics.
  • Write a letter addressed to the House Education Committee - TN State Legislature stating why you support the bill.  Please include your name (first/last) and address (city/state, at minimum) so the committee members will know that they are hearing from TN residents.  Letters can be emailed to no later than Thursday, March 21, 2013.
  • Consider having your allergic children write their own letter to the Committee saying what the bill would mean to them.
  • Spread the word!  Share this information with your friends, family, physicians and blog readers.

3/22/2013 Update
HB0866, Amendment 4828 was passed by the TN House Education Subcommittee on 03/19/2013.  The wording of the amendment has been changed from "requiring" schools to stock epinephrine auto-injectors that could be used on any student thought to be experiencing anaphylaxis to "authorizing" them to do so.

The bill that would allow TN schools to stock epinephrine autoinjectors for all students perceived to be in experiencing anaphylaxis was passed by the House and Senate of the TN General Assembly on 4/15/13.  Many thanks to all who lent their support to this process!!

There is a bill signing ceremony for this legislation on 6/4/13.  See this post for more info!  


  1. Hi Kendra! I thought you might be interested in this webpage about getting free epipens for your school:

  2. Every state should have this law.

  3. Hi Kendra. Where can I find details of this bill to read. I looked under the agend for the TN House Education Subcomitee and didn't see this specifically listed. HB0866 pertained to a different topic. Thanks for any help.

    1. Hello, Anonymous! HB0866 is actually an agricultural bill with an amendment that requires auto-injectors in school. (I find politics confusing, so I really hope that I've explained that right!) It is my understanding that the only part of HB0866 that the Education Committee is weighing in on is the part about the auto-injectors.

      Here is a link to the video of yesterday's hearing so you can know exactly what was presented verbally.

      Please email Andrea at to request a copy of bill as it has been submitted. She's the one doing the actual work on this. I'm sorry to push you off. I just can't figure out how to post it here in the form that I've got it!

    2. thank you. if you do see the full text posted online would you mind sharing? Thanks again.

    3. Absolutely!! Andrea sent me a message this morning that she is working on that. I will post it as a reply to my existing blog pieces about the pending legislation. That way I know that you will see it as long as you are signed up for comment notifications. I really appreciate your patience as I try to answer everyone's questions!

  4. HB0866 passed the TN House Education Subcommittee! More information in my next entry.

  5. Hello! I just found this blog and think it is awesome! My name is Candice and I am the founder of Elijahs Hope (food allergy awareness) in Knoxville Tennessee. and my blog I will share this on both. Is there a template or sample letter I can look at. Where will the meeting be because I would like to attend. Should we email our governor and senators? Thanks!

    1. Hello, Candice! I just saw that you'd shared this on Elijah's Hope Facebook page. Thank you for that! I have not seen a sample letter, but will let the person coordinating know that it's been requested. (I'm not directly involved in the process. Just spreading the word as far as I can!)

      The next reading is scheduled for Tuesday, March 26 at noon. Location will be somewhere at Legislative Plaza. Please email Andrea at to let her know that you are interested in attending. She can provide further details.

      Right now Andrea is collecting letters via email as the address listed above. Any that are received by the end of business tomorrow will be compiled into a packet that she will provide to each member of the TN House Education Committee. I am working on an blog update that will go out Thursday night or Friday morning with the contact information for committee members for any further stories by email and phone calls from those Representatives' constituents.

  6. Check out the latest update!

  7. UPDATE!

  8. There is a bill signing ceremony for this legislation on 6/4/13. See this post for more info!


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