UNDER THE ROTUNDA
With committee assignments now made, the House and Senate gaveled in yesterday to take roll and quickly adjourned until Monday afternoon. Action quickly moved to one of the newly named committees.
The Senate budget-writing committee held its first meeting Tuesday, and on Wednesday a draft budget was presented for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), among other government agencies. The proposed 2020-21 CPRIT budget is just over $436 million, a nearly 27-percent cut from the 2018-19 budget. The Texas Medical Association submitted written testimony encouraging full funding of CPRIT. We will keep you apprised of future developments.
Two weeks into session, bills continue to be filed in advance of the March 8 filing deadline, albeit more slowly than last session. The current count is more than 1,530 bills filed. The Texas Medical Association is monitoring 313 of them, in keeping with previous sessions’ rates of about 20 percent of all bills filed.
Attend TMA’s 2019 Winter Conference this week to learn more about our legislative agenda for this session and how you can quickly and easily participate in our advocacy efforts.
With committee assignments finalized, and the state budget being the one constitutional responsibility of the legislature, expect discussions on the budget to ramp up quickly.
The draft 2020-21 budget bills that were introduced in the House and Senate last week will go through numerous changes during the next couple of months, and TMA will vigorously pursue adequate funding for house of medicine priorities, including Medicaid, graduate medical education, and public health investments. Keep an eye on your email inboxes for calls to action to assist us in our efforts.
SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK REDUX
While the legislature continues organizing and naming committees, and before we ask you to participate in TMA’s grassroots advocacy efforts, here’s a quick refresher on how a bill becomes a law in Texas.
ARE YOU A LEGISLATIVE JUNKIE?
If talk of bills and committees and backroom deals initiate tachycardia, you might want to join TMA Leading Advocates. It’s TMA’s exclusive Facebook group for legislative advocacy. Enjoy special features, news in advance, and a community of TMA members who are excited to talk about the Texas Legislature and medicine's advocacy priorities. This closed group is open only to TMA and TMA Alliance members, and TMA and county medical society staff. Join today.
TMA’s 2019 legislative agenda includes priorities to help advance patient care in Texas.
Top on the list are the state budget, insurance reform, scope of practice, maternal health, the Texas Medical Board and Medical Practice Act, and public health.
For more details, see “On Call at the Capitol” in the January issue of Texas Medicine.
TMA member physicians and medical students, and TMA Alliance members play a significant role in advancing medicine’s priorities at the Capitol. Here are some ways you can help:
- Register for First Tuesdays at the Capitol;
- Testify before a House or Senate committee;
- Learn more about TEXPAC, TMA’s bipartisan political action committee;
- When called to do so, respond to Grassroots Action Center Alerts on specific bills; and/or
- Make sure you receive TMA’s Legislative News Hotline each day, via Texas Medicine Today. Here’s how: Just log in to the Edit My Interests page on your TMA profile. Ensure you get all the legislative updates by selecting "Health care issues in the Texas Legislature" as one of your Grassroots and Advocacy interests. TMA’s updates on the latest bills affecting medicine will arrive in your inbox as part of Texas Medicine Today at 2 pm each day lawmakers convene at the Capitol throughout Texas’ 86th legislative session.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Texas launches website to fight prescription drug abuse – Houston Chronicle
Americans aren’t having enough babies to repopulate: CDC – KTRK-TV
PhRMA spent a record $27.5 million on lobbying in 2018 – STAT News
Insider Q&A: Cigna CEO Seeks Deeper Push Into Patient Health – The Associated Press
Expecting Care: How Texas is failing foster kids and contributing to an alarming teen pregnancy rate – The Texas Observer
From North Texas, a Low-Tech Fertility Solution Goes Viral – D Magazine
How to Inoculate Against Anti-Vaxxers [Opinion – Editorial] – The New York Times
Our View: Tech medical school changed face of health care across West Texas [Opinion – Editorial] – Lubbock Avalanche-Journal