Legislative Hotline: Bill to Raise Tobacco-Purchase Age Moving Forward
By Brent Annear


After several sessions’ trying to protect the health of youth in Texas by delaying the onset of smoking and thus nicotine addiction, TMA’s Legislative News Hotline video reports medicine is making progress.

Senate Bill 21 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) – which raises the minimum age to purchase smoking or vape products from 18 to 21 – squeaked out of the Senate State Affairs Committee this week with a 5-4 vote and now heads to the Senate floor for debate.

Next week in Austin, the Senate will consider SB 21. Please contact your state senator today. Ask him or her to vote in support of SB 21 and protect the health of Texas’ youth.


Lawmakers unveiled new balance-billing legislation this week, while several physicians testified on key issues such as limiting scope-of-practice expansions, medical liability, and pharmacy benefit managers.

In this week’s TMA Legislative Hotline video, we hear Rep. Tom Oliverson, MD (R-Cypress), and TMA Board Trustee Ray Callas, MD, react to the balance-bill plan that removes patients from mediation and installs arbitration to settle bills. Hint: The bill is promising, but TMA leaders hope lawmakers will improve some elements.

Also in this week’s video, TMA Board Trustee Lindsay Botsford, MD, argues why broadening advanced practice registered nurses’ scope of practice would be a poor idea.

And Austin-area OB/Gyn Moss Hampton, MD, explains why a plan to remove some medical liability protections in emergency care situations would be unfair to physicians.

Also, TMA President Doug Curran, MD, testifies in support of a Medicaid managed care overhaul bill that he says could improve patients’ access to care and help physicians by cutting red tape.

We also list a slew of prior-authorization bills that took one step closer to becoming law, hear support for a bill to protect small children, and even meet a medical student who testified for a bill to help grow doctors in Texas. All of this and more in this week’s TMA Legislative News Hotline video.


Last Updated On

April 05, 2019

Brent Annear

Director, Media and Public Relations 

(512) 370-1381


 Brent headshot

Brent Annear is TMA’s director of media relations and PR. He joined TMA in 2001 after working two decades in television news. Brent and his team share TMA’s mission and vision with the world through news releases, blog and social media posts, and videos. He is a University of Texas graduate who hails from Minnesota. Brent is married and has two stepsons. He enjoys photography, golf, travel, volunteering and woodworking projects, and he is a private pilot. 

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