By James J. Gormley
The Illinois’ nutrition community bill (SB 2936) we told you about over the last week has passed the Illinois House of Representatives by a vote of 102 to 7, with two abstentions. Translation: The bill has passed and now awaits Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s signature!
In an exception to the normal legislative procedures, a second and a third bill reading fortunately occurred on one day, today, after the bill was passed unanimously by the Illinois Senate on November 29th and by the House Licensing Committee earlier this week.
To recap, current Illinois law allows a near-monopoly for dietitians, but, with Governor Quinn’s signature, SB 2936 will open up access to other qualified health professionals. For many years now the American Dietetic Association (now re-named the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, or AND) has been working hard to monopolize all communications and information provided to consumers about nutrition and dietary supplements.
The dieticians’ lobby seeks to not just prevent laypeople from providing dietary advice, but non-RD health professionals as well! The heart of the problem is this: Unlike many health professions, “nutrition advice” is not a single profession, but is a tool-set legitimately used by many professionals. Those professionals include nutritionists, medical doctors, chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturists, health coaches, and many more, some of whom are much more qualified to provide such information!
The bill will:
- Change current law from an RD-only law, to one that permits a wider variety of nutrition education and allows other nutrition exams and credentials (the CNS, CCN, and DACBN).
- Strengthen exemptions protecting acupuncturists, health food stores and other businesses and employees who respond to consumer questions regarding nutrition and dietary supplement information.
According to the American Nutrition Association (ANA), an organization which represents the majority of the nutrition community: “This bill doesn’t correct every provision of current law we sought to change. However, the significance of rolling back a monopolistic RD practice law to one which includes other nutritionists and exemptions, is immense.”
Governor Quinn will want to consider what is at stake here — will we have only the dietetics version of nutrition advice in Illinois or will The Land of Lincoln have broader access to nutrition advice? The dieticians’ lobby is bringing all the money and forces they can to prevent this good bill from being signed!
We have an excellent chance of winning, but only if Governor Quinn is aware of how important this bill is to Illinois consumers and, by extension, for health freedom.
A special thanks goes out to the following sponsoring Senators: Iris Martinez (the bill’s main sponsor), Michael Noland, Ron Sandack, Jacqueline Collins, Emil Jones III, Mattie Hunter and Donna Trotter. Thanks are also due to the sponsoring Representatives: Angelo Saviano, Michael Zalewski, Michael McAuliffe and Brandon Phelps.
Although it didn’t matter when all was said and done, the following Illinois House members inexplicably voted against this historic bill: Pihos, Chapa LaVia, Northland, Franks, Farnham, Durkin and Sente. Two Representatives took no position (but were present): Connelly and Mussman.
Ending a dietetics monopoly and ensuring protection for a diverse range of nutrition care providers for Americans is underway. This will be a milestone step for Illinois if their Governor signs it.