May 10, 2011

Stop Fat Amendments to School Bill

TMA Legislative News Hotline

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Write Today!
It's not too late to save Texas children's access to health education in public schools. Please contact your state representative, senator, and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst today. Ask them to not gut successful programs that can help us stop Texas' terrible obesity epidemic. Ask your representative to "Vote No" on amendments to House Bill 400 by Rep. Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands) that repeal school-based fitness measurements and coordinated school health education. You can use the TMA Grassroots Action Center for talking points and an easy way to send e-mails to your state lawmakers. Please act now. The bill will be on the House floor teither oday or tomorrow.

The lieutenant governor named the Senate budget conferees yesterday. They will join House conferees to try to reach agreement on the state 2012-13 budget. Senate conferees are Sens. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan), chair; Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound); Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands); Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock); and Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D-McAllen). The House conferees are Reps. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie), chair; Sylvester Turner (D-Houston); John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton); John Otto (R-Dayton); and Myra Crownover (R-Denton).

Partisan tensions burst into flames in the Texas House yesterday and Saturday over two of Gov. Rick Perry's emergency bills: the sanctuary city bill and the loser-pays bill. Today the House will consider the sanctuary city bill on third reading and has several more contentious issues before it. One is HB 400 by Representative Eissler, which is the far-reaching bill that is intended to give school districts "flexibility" in dealing with the public school budget crisis. The bill is being brought back up after having a sustained point of order brought against it on Saturday. Others include the ever-delayed state fiscal matters bills to raise more non-tax revenue to help pay for the 2012-13 budget. These bills have drawn more than 130 amendments. The House also has the Texas Department of Insurance sunset bill, which has drawn 71 amendments, and the controversial Texas Windstorm Insurance Association bill still waiting in the wings. Meanwhile, dozens of bills are backlogged on the general state calendar. These bills may never see the light of day. Thursday is the last day the full House can tentatively approve House bills on the general calendar.

The physician of the day at the capitol is Timothy Vachris, MD, of Austin. Dr. Vachris has practiced family medicine for four years. He graduated from The UT Health Science Center at Houston in 2005. Dr. Vachris is a member of TMA and the Travis County Medical Society.

OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Senate GOP balks at Medicare overhaul
(The Hill Healthwatch)
Controversial health board braces for continued battles over Medicare
(Washington Post)
Obama administration fights to save healthcare law
Loser-Pays Bill Clears Texas House
(Texas Tribune)
Bill targeting so-called sanctuary cities gets passage after debate is shut off
 (Austin-American Statesman)

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