A letter to the Acupuncture Community from Jerusha De
Groote, MSOM of the Mississippi Oriental Medicine Association
The struggle has been long and arduous, and
many wonderful things have happened along the way for House Bill 724.
Unfortunately, it met its demise on the House Floor this past Thursday,
February 28, 2008. I am not discouraged, though! This bill went down in
a blaze of glory and controversy, just as I suspected it might.
On Tuesday, February 26, the Mississippi State Medical Association
placed a scathing letter on all House Members desks in the Chamber. In
this letter, the President of the MSMA implores the House to vote
against acupuncturists of practicing without a medical license and that
acupuncturists have made “wild claims” about cures for conditions such
as sinusitis, bronchitis, and gastritis. Furthermore, he claims that
allowing non-physicians to practice acupuncture is just plain “bad
It was certainly a turning point in our efforts with the individual
legislators. Ayres Haxton, our volunteer lobbyist, and I spoke with as
many members as possible to thwart their efforts. On Thursday, the last
day for bills to receive action on the Floor, the group who sided with
the Mississippi State Medical Association participated in legislative
boondoggling that prevented HB 724 from even being debated. All of
MOMA's hard work to contact legislators must have worked! They were very
intimidated by all of you knowing how they were going to vote and
prevented a roll call.
However, in an exciting turn of events, after lunch one of our
distinguished Representatives, Bobby Moak from Bogue Chitta, attached
our bill as an amendment to another bill. Although this was a very
sneaky approach, it felt only right considering the Mississippi State
Medical Association was playing dirty. The House passed the amendment in
a sleepy stupor, even with an abbreviated version of the sections of the
bill being read out loud. Scary these folks are making our laws! In any
case, this was shortly discovered by the opposition. At the end of the
day, the bill was resurrected once again and the amendment was killed.
It was not a futile effort because that vote was recorded. I sincerely
believe that all of your voices made HB 724 as controversial as it was.
In the end, one of the co-authors of our bill made the declaration on
the Floor: "This is not the last time you will see an Acupuncture
Licensing Bill on this House Floor!" It was thrilling and those who
worked so hard for this bill are my heroes.
Jerusha De Groote, MSOM