Tennessee Governor Signs Smart Heart Act

Gov. Bill Lee signs law requiring AEDs in schools to improve cardiac emergency responses.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed the Smart Heart Act into law, mandating the presence of automatic defibrillators in schools and establishing protocols for cardiac-related medical emergencies. This legislation received unanimous, bipartisan support.

“Nothing is more important than keeping our students healthy and safe, and the Smart Heart Act ensures schools will be ready to respond in the event of a cardiac-related emergency,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “I commend the General Assembly for their commitment to Tennessee students in passing this legislation.”

The Smart Heart Act requires public and nonpublic schools serving grades nine through twelve to maintain an automated external defibrillator (AED) that is accessible during school hours and all athletic activities. Additionally, schools must establish, review, and annually practice an athletics emergency action plan for responding to cardiac arrests or other life-threatening injuries during school athletic events. The legislation also ensures that personnel, including coaches, are trained in CPR and AED use.

Governor Lee was joined by the National Football League, American Heart Association, and other members of the Smart Heart Sports Coalition, along with members of the General Assembly.

“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of Tennessee students. This bill ensures that schools will have the training and tools necessary to respond quickly and efficiently to a cardiac event. I am grateful to Senator Hensley for sponsoring this important legislation in the Senate,” said Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge).

Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) added, “Thanks to this initiative, student athletes and those at school events will be safer. Senator Joey Hensley has done great work to ensure our schools are equipped with life-saving devices and trained staff in the event of cardiac emergencies.”

House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) emphasized the importance of AEDs and trained responders, stating, “Equipping our schools and communities with immediate access to AEDs and people prepared to respond is key to saving lives when every second counts. The Heart Smart Act will further minimize risks for student-athletes, but also makes our communities safer and healthier for everyone.”

Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) highlighted the urgency, “Over 23,000 children under age 18 have cardiac arrests outside of hospitals annually, and it’s crucial to be prepared to respond quickly. This new law ensures that our schools have the equipment necessary to save lives of our Tennessee children in emergency cardiac events.”

Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) noted the significance of the legislation, “Whether it’s in the classroom or on the athletic field, student safety remains a top priority in Tennessee. The Smart Heart Act is a critical piece of legislation that will ensure an AED is nearby and easily accessible if a cardiac emergency occurs at a high school sporting event.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell expressed support, “The NFL is honored to join with our Smart Heart Sports Coalition partners and allies to celebrate the enactment of this crucial safety measure. Thanks to Governor Lee, leaders in the legislature, the Tennessee Titans, and the advocates who pushed this forward, school communities throughout the state will have the tools and training to better respond to cardiac emergencies.”

Sarah Adair of the American Heart Association also praised the law, “This law equips all public schools in Tennessee to respond to a cardiac emergency anywhere on school grounds within minutes with trained staffed, maintained AEDs, and in coordination with the local EMS. We believe this bill will ensure students statewide receive quality care quickly.”

Launched in 2023, the Smart Heart Sports Coalition comprises major sports leagues and leading health advocacy organizations. The coalition aims to promote evidence-based policies nationwide to prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest fatalities among high school students, including the availability of AEDs at athletic venues, regularly rehearsed emergency action plans, and CPR and AED training for key personnel.


Source: Read Original Release

Jeffrey Dale Appointed MALETA Director

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has appointed Jeffrey Dale as the new Director of the Multi-Agency Law Enforcement Training Academy (MALETA) in Nashville, effective July 1, where he will oversee enhanced training and resource allocation for law enforcement agencies.