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Meet the MAC Lobbyist, Bob

Bob DeVries has worked in Michigan Legislative politics since 2006.  Bob got his start as a low-level staffer in the House of Representatives.  Over the next decade he worked his way up the staff ranks, finally reaching the position of Chief of Staff to the Senate Majority Leader.  Since 2017, Bob has been a lobbyist at GCSI, serving many important clients like the Michigan Audiology Coalition (MAC).  Bob was hired to be the MAC lobbyist in 2020. As a lobbyist, it is Bob’s job to maintain relationships with 148 Legislators and dozens of Executive Branch officials so that his clients always have an opening to talk to whoever can help.

Bob is married to Jackie and they have four elementary aged children–Abby, Betsy, Maggie, and Bobby.  They live in the Grand Rapids area.  Bob enjoys golfing, going to the pool with his kids, and watching his beloved Detroit Tigers.

Legislative Accomplishments

Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity & International Safety Equipment Association Bill

  • Lowered occupational noise permissible exposure limit (PEL) to 85 dBA and the exchange rate to 3 dB
  • MAC supported and testified
  • Passed, signed into law

Modification of the Driver’s License Bill HB 4364-4366

  • Allowing those with autism or hearing loss to obtain a designation on their driver’s license to ease communication with law enforcement officers
  • Bill was introduced into the transportation committee
  • Audiologists were not listed as providers able to make designation
  • MAC testified requesting the bill be amended
  • Passed, signed into law 11/4/2021

Legislative Concerns Ongoing/Active

FDA Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Decision

  • MAC monitoring in accordance with the American Academy of Audiology OTC Task Force regarding recommendations for specific state-based interactions with the ruling (licensure law regulations, etc.)

Language Equality & Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K) Bill 5777

  • Proposes to track language milestones from birth-5 years of age, in ASL or spoken English and establish an advisory board
  • MAC opposing due to:
    • Inefficient use of public finds as it is a duplication of what Early On and MDE-ILO currently provide
    • Conflicts with a key provision of Federal IDEA law
    • Biased advisory committee
    • Does not focus on multidisciplinary approach
    • Does not provide for consideration of additional factors including comorbid conditions that may impact language acquisition
    • Ignores multi-cultural families who do not use ASL or spoken English in the home
    • Opposed by AAA, ASHA, American Cochlear Implant Alliance, Michigan Otolaryngological Society, Michigan AG Bell Association, American Academy of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, Directors of Speech & Hearing Programs in State Health & Welfare Agencies, Hearing Los Association of America, International Hearing Society, and the National Center for Hearing Assessment & Management

Current LEAD-K Timeline:

  • Defeated in senate committee 12/18/2020
  • Reintroduced to House 2/25/21
  • MAC testified in opposition at the House committee hearing 3/8/22
  • Passed the Families, Children and Seniors Committee in the house on 3/22/22
  • Passed full House 4/13/2022
  • Met with the legislative liaison for the Office of Public and Governmental Affairs at the MI Dept of Education 4/4/2022
  • Met with MSHA president Derek Daniels on 5/5/22
  • Passed the full House on 4/13/2022
  • Moved to the Education Committee in the Senate on 4/15/2022
  • Met with 7 senators to discuss concerns about bill 5/7/22
  • Monitoring to see when bill will be reintroduced to senate committee in the upcoming session

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Screening Bill

  • CMV is the most common infectious cause of birth defects in the US
    • vision loss, hearing loss, intellectual disability, impaired motor function, seizures
    • 1/150 babies born, 1/5 with congenital CMV have long-term complications
  • Congenital CMV (cCMV) is most common cause of non-hereditary hearing loss
  • Anti-viral treatments must be administered within 31 days of birth to be optimally effective
  • Disproportionally impacts racial and ethnically marginalized communities
  • No standard of care and no universal screening program in the state of Michigan
  • MAC actively proposing legislation
  • A CMV committee was formed in May 2022 and is seeking a bill sponsor

Legislative Concerns Monitored

Interstate Licensure Compact

  • The Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact (ASLP-IC) facilitates the interstate practice of audiology and speech-language pathology while maintaining one license to practice
  • As of August 2022, the ASLP-IC has been enacted into law in 23 states
  • MAC supports an interstate compact agreement for Audiology however, we cannot pursue legislative support as Governor Whitmer has stated she will veto all licensure compacts
  • We continue to monitor interstate compact agreements, as nursing, psychology, OT, and PT continue to actively pursue licensure compacts for their professions in Michigan


MAC Advocacy Day March 8th, 2022

25 MAC members from all over the state traveled to Lansing, MI to advocate for the field of Audiology. After a brief training with Bob DeVries, MAC members met with Representatives from the House and Senate throughout the day. Dr. Casey Stach, chair of the legislative committee, testified at the Families, Children, and Seniors Committee hearing in opposition of the Lead-K bill.

Watch your email and MAC social media pages for information regarding the next Advocacy Day event tentatively planned for October 2023!

Happy Hour October 12th, 2022

This year, prior to the MAC Conference, the Mug Club and the Legislative Committee will be hosting a happy hour with our Lobbyist, Bob DeVries. The event is open to all MAC members and is free for Mug Club members. Registration is required and can be completed with conference registration.

Donate to the MAC lobbyist fund

Identify federally elected officials for your area

Find your Michigan representative

Michigan Audiology Licensure

Make us aware of a legislative issue important to you: legislation@michiganaudiologycoalition.org