2005 Legislative Compendium: Child Health, Safety, Obesity

 Obesity  |  Immunizations   |  Diabetes  |  Booster Seat Bill   |  Child Protective Services Reform 



Expansion of School Health and Physical Education Programs
SB 42 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Lewisville) and Rep. Dianne Delisi (R-Temple) expands the implementation of coordinated school health curriculum and physical activity requirements, originally set forth in SB 19 for elementary schools, to middle and junior high schools. The bill gives students the option of participating in physical education twice a week or scheduling at least two semesters overall, with exemptions for participation in extracurricular activities, at school or in private leagues. The bill also requires schools to publish in student handbooks or on their Web site, policies regarding compliance with school health and physical activity legislation, as well as provide a report for each campus to the commissioner of education. The commissioner shall adopt criteria for evaluating the nutrition services component to ensure compliance with the Texas Department of Agriculture policies relating to foods of minimal nutritional value. The "Lauren's Law" amendment allows parents or grandparents to provide any food of their choice to children in the classroom or at a school activity on the occasion of a student's birthday.

"Cheeseburger" Bill
HB 107 by Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale (R-Houston) and Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas) bans Texans from suing restaurants or food manufacturers for obesity-related health problems.


Immunization Requirements for Childcare Facilities
HB 1316 by Rep. Bill Zedler (R-Arlington) and Sen. Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) adds pneumococcal and hepatitis A to the list of immunizations required for children in regulated childcare facilities.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus
HB 1677 by Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) and Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) establishes a sentinel surveillance program for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

SB 1211 by Senator Deuell and Representative Dukes requires the Department of State Health Services to provide: 1) information regarding RSV and the importance of preventive services for children at risk for contracting the virus; 2) RSV prophylaxis for children who are at high risk for complications of the disease; and 3) immunization against RSV when a vaccine is recommended and available.

Heirloom Birth and Wedding Certificates
SB 2100 by Senator Nelson and Representative Delisi stipulates that 50 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the heirloom birth and wedding certificates be designated for the childhood immunization program.

Immunization of Elderly Persons
SB 1330 by Senator Nelson and Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) requires hospitals, end-stage renal disease facilities, and physicians who care for the elderly to provide opportunities for their patients to receive pneumococcal and influenza vaccines.


Management of Diabetes in Schoolchildren
HB 984 by Rep. Elvira Reyna (R-Mesquite) and Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) provides for unlicensed diabetes care assistants to be trained to assist schoolchildren who need help with their diabetes management while at school or participating in a school activity. The bill stipulates that there should be at least one unlicensed diabetes care assistant if a full-time nurse is assigned to the school; and at least three unlicensed diabetes care assistants if a full-time nurse is not assigned to the school. If a school nurse is assigned to a campus and is available, the nurse shall assist the student with diabetes. If a nurse is not available, an unlicensed diabetes care assistant shall help the student only if the parent or guardian of the student signs an agreement that authorizes the assistant to help the student, and a release of liability for civil damages.

Schoolchildren with diabetes are allowed to self-manage their diabetes, if capable. The bill specifies the content of the instruction to be provided in the training and provides immunity from liability for school employees and school nurses. HB 984 also requires schools to provide bus drivers and other persons supervising a student with diabetes during an off-campus activity with a one-page information sheet that: 1) identifies the student who has diabetes; 2) identifies potential emergencies that may occur as a result of the student's diabetes and the appropriate responses to such emergencies; and 3) provides the telephone number of a contact person in case of an emergency involving the student with diabetes.

Booster Seat Bill

HB 183 by Rep. Fred Brown and Senator Zaffirini requires that children be restrained in a child passenger safety seat system while in a motor vehicle until they are five years of age and reach 36 inches in height. To pass in the Senate, the bill was unfortunately amended diluting more stringent requirements for older children Senator Zaffirini successfully added language directing the Texas Department Public Safety to conduct a study regarding legislative options to improve child passenger safety laws.

Child Protective Services Reform

Omnibus Protective Services Reform
SB 6 by Senator Nelson and Rep. Suzanna Hupp (R-Kempner) is the comprehensive child and adult protective services act. This bill overhauls child and adult protective services, lowers caseloads, provides more training, and privatizes direct services. Of particular interest to physicians, the bill includes provisions that establish a medical home and an electronic health passport for each foster child. The prohibition for prescribing psychotropic drugs to children less than 6 years of age did not make it into the final bill. Instead, it calls for a study of the medical care system to ensure prescribing psychotropic drugs to foster children is not incentivized.

SB 6 calls for judicial oversight of medical care for the foster child at each court hearing. The final language of the bill allows for emergency provision of medical care. It also allows a foster child who is at least 16 years of age to provide consent for medical care if the child is deemed capable of providing consent. And the bill requires a consenter, such as a parent or guardian, to "participate" in medical visits. (Current law excludes some abusive parents from medical visits.)

Training for Abuse and Neglect Reports
HB 801 by Rep. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) and Senator Nelson requires the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), in conjunction with law enforcement and the Commission on State Emergency Communications, to development a training program for department personnel who receive reports of abuse and neglect. The training must include proper methods of screening reports of abuse and neglect, and ways to determine the seriousness of a report.

Paperwork Completion for Reports of Abuse and Neglect
HB 802 by Representative Uresti and Senator Nelson stipulates that a DFPS employee who responds to a high-level report of abuse and neglect shall identify, to the extent reasonable, forms and other paperwork that can be completed by family members of the child who is the subject of the report. Physicians polled were split on this particular bill. Those in opposition indicated that DFPS should concentrate on advocating for alleged abuse or neglect victims, not paperwork.

Interagency Council to Promote Healthy Families
HB 1685 by Representative Dukes and Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) establishes an interagency coordinating council for building healthy families to facilitate communication and collaboration among state agencies for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. This council is charged with providing an inventory of child abuse and neglect prevention and early intervention policies, programs, and activities on each agency represented on the council no later than June 1, 2006. A report is due Dec. 1, 2006, with recommendations for improving the coordination and collaboration of child abuse and neglect prevention, early intervention programs and services among state agencies, and continuing the council                              

Reporting of Suspected Abuse or Neglect
HB 1970 by Rep. Richard Raymond (D-Laredo) and Senator Zaffirini requires that a report be made to DFPS when a case of alleged or suspected abuse/neglect involves a person responsible for the care, custody, or welfare of a child.

Medical History for Child Voluntarily Relinquished to the State
HB 1999 by Representative Van Arsdale and Sen. Jon Lindsay (R-Houston) requires a parent who voluntarily relinquishes parental rights of a biological child to prepare a medical history of the parent and parent's ancestors. This information shall be used in preparing the health, social, educational, and genetic history report that is made available to the child and the child's adoptive parents.

Availability of Support Services
HB 2579 by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (R-Austin) and Senator Zaffirini requires the Department of Aging and Disability to provide information regarding all community-based services, and any other service or support options available to parents or guardians requesting placement of a child in an institution This bill also requires parents to be involved in the permanency planning and annual reauthorizations for health care of institutionalized children.

Certain Medical Examination Requirements for a Child Allegedly Sexually Assaulted
HB 546 by Rep. Kevin Bailey (D-Houston) and Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) requires that in a county of 3 million or more, a medical exam of a child alleged to have been sexually assaulted must include photo documentation, unless the medical professional performing the exam determines a good cause for not taking the photo. The photo documentation must include images of the child's anogenital area and any signs of bodily injury. If the medical professional does not take a photo, he or she must document the reason in the medical record. Reasons for not taking a photo are admissible at trial, but the lack of a photo will not affect admissibility of other evidence in the case. HB 546 originally called for parental consent for photo documentation, but this stipulation was removed because in some cases, the abuser is the parent. Additionally, the final language emphasized that this is a forensic examination to be conducted by a medical professional.

Shaken Baby Syndrome
SB 316 by Sen. Eddie Lucio (D-Brownville) and Rep. Jim Solis (D-Harlingen) requires a hospital, birthing center, physician, nurse midwife, or midwife who gives prenatal care to a pregnant woman during gestation or at delivery to provide the parent or adult caregiver a pamphlet that contains information on: contact information for postpartum counseling and trauma associated with pregnancy or parenting, postpartum depression, shaken baby syndrome, childhood diseases and the appropriate immunization schedule, appropriate schedule for follow-up procedures for newborn screening, and other information as considered important for parents of newborns.

Early Childhood Care and Education Program Coordination
SB 23 by Senator Zaffirini and Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) establishes a program to incentize early childhood care providers to coordinate services. The bill also establishes a school readiness certification program for providers of early childhood care and education programs.

Administration of Psychoactive Medication to Court-Ordered Mental Health Inpatients
SB 465 by Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) and Rep. Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin) provides a methodology to allow administration of psychoactive medication to inpatients subject to court-ordered mental health care regardless of the patient's refusal.

Child Abuse Training for Youth Camp Employees
SB 990 by Sen. Kyle Janek (R-Houston) and Rep. Craig Eiland (D-Galveston) prohibits a youth camp from employing an individual in, or accepting volunteer service for, a position involving contact with campers unless the individual provides documentation that he or she has, in the last two years, successfully completed a training and examination program on sexual abuse and child molestation by the Department of State Health Services.

Child Health, Safety and Nutrition/Fitness TMA Staff Contacts:  

  • Yvonne Barton, Legislative Affairs, (512) 370-1359
  • Hilary Dennis, Legislative Affairs, (512) 370-1370
  • Greg Herzog, Legislative Affairs, (512) 370-1360
  • C.J. Francisco, JD, Office of the General Counsel, (512) 370-1339
  • Gayle Love, Public Health, (512) 370-1670
  • Susan Griffin, Public Health, (512) 370-1462




Overview  | Tax Reform | Scope of Practice | Physician Ownership | Inadequate Health Plan Networks (Balanced Billing) | Managed Care/Insurance Reform | Texas State Board of Medical Examiners Sunset and Physician Licensure | Agency Sunset Review  | Corporate Practice of Medicine | Health Care Funding | Medicaid and CHIP | Indigent Care and the Uninsured | Workers' Compensation | Professional Liability Reform | Medical Education/Workforce  | Public Health | Border Health | Rural Health | Mental Health | Trauma/EMS | Prescription Drugs | Medical Science | Long-Term Care | Abortion | Transplantation/Organ Donation | Table of Contents