UNDER THE ROTUNDA
Week three of the Texas Legislature’s first called special session is drawing quickly to a close, with little movement this week on the imperative bills. Here’s a quick update — more detail can be found in a previous Hotline.
While separate Texas Medical Board (TMB) sunset bills have passed their respective House and Senate chambers, neither has taken much action on the others’ bills. The Senate returned to work this yesterday afternoon after taking a few days off.
Either House Bill 1 or Senate Bill 20 must pass the other chamber. Without legislative action, the TMB and the Medical Practice Act both will expire Sept. 1. SB 20 was heard in the House State Affairs committee mid-week and left pending. HB 1 is still awaiting referral to a Senate committee.
The primary focus of state lawmakers has shifted to the 20 additional items Gov. Greg Abbott added to the special session agenda. Among them:
- House Bill 12 by Rep. Greg Bonnen, MD (R-Friendswood), regarding do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders, the companion bill to Senate Bill 11 by Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), was laid out in the House State Affairs Committee yesterday and left pending. Negotiations on protecting the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship, physicians’ professional ethics, and liability safeguards continue with both HB 12 and SB 11. SB 11 was heard in the House State Affairs Committee earlier this week where it was left pending.
- Several bills address the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, which will study trends and conditions associated with pregnancy-related deaths, and extend the expiration date by four years. House Bill 9 by Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Sunnyvale), has been referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for consideration. Its companion bill, Senate Bill 17 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), passed the Senate and awaits committee referral in the House.
Just as the association did when this issue came up during the regular session, TMA noted concerns on House Bill 204, by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston), which would mandate electrocardiograms for all high school student athletes. TMA instead supports national standardized screening procedures and evidence-based guidelines. HB 204 was heard in the House Public Education Committee earlier this week and left pending.
With limited time remaining in the special session, the pace of bill filing is a slow trickle. More than 555 have been introduced thus far in a condensed session with less than two weeks to go. TMA is actively monitoring 18 of them as the special session wanes — most of which are reprised from the regular session. Stay tuned for daily updates.
PHYSICIAN OF THE DAY
The physician of the day at the Capitol is Larry Kravitz, MD, of Austin. Dr. Kravitz graduated from George Washington University School of Medicine. He is a member of the Travis County Medical Society.
WHAT WE'RE READING
House votes to restore cuts to therapy program, but bill’s fate uncertain — San Antonio Express-News
Texas House approves more abortion reporting requirements — The Texas Tribune
Planned Parenthood ban has caused decline in Texas women's access to health care, report says — The Dallas Morning News
Millions of Americans live nowhere near a hospital, jeopardizing their lives — CNN
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