Thursday, February 22, 2007

Perry's HPV Executive Order to Face a Floor Fight

Yesterday afternoon, the House Public Health committee passed out HB 1098, which would simply rescind Gov. Perry's executive order requiring "Texas sluts" to be immunized against the human papilloma virus (HPV). It's a one paragraph bill backed by a handful of Democrats, and every Republican minus Chisum and 2 others (not including Craddick) have signed on as co-authors (please excuse me for not checking the other two).

In the Senate, SB 438 was just referred to the Health & Human Services committee yesterday. I haven't heard when either are headed for their respective floor.

I'll actually side with the Republicans on this one. Legality of the order aside, unfunded mandates are rarely Kosher for me. Currently, those who qualify for Medicaid can receive certain immunizations, including HPV, through the Vaccines for Children Program. Others have to pay upwards of $300 for the shot. Requiring every child to get this shot is just another boondoggle for Perry's friends, such as last session's SBC lobbyist (remember how much I loved that telecom bill?) and former Perry staffer Mike Toomey.

This isn't to say I'm against the vaccine by any means. I'm all for an educational campaign to teach parents its merits, as outlined by Rep. Farrar's bill, HB 215; I'd even advocate attaching the pertinent language in that bill as an amendment to HB 1098 (and have the state pay for it if it was to require it....) But leave the decision up to the family who'd be paying for it.

Granted, I know that there are plenty of misconceptions about the HPV shot, if yesterday's hearing was any indication -- that's why there ought to be the education campaign.....but nothing more.

P.S. Someone please tell the Dallas Morning News that you can't have your cake and eat it too: They applaud HB 1098 getting voted out of committee, then directs them, well specifically Chair Delisi, to support Farrar's bill. Uh, do you want the mandate or not?

UPDATE: Rep. Joe Deshotel's HB 1379, which carries the educational language I support, was also voted out of Public Health yesterday by a vote of 9-0.



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