The House State Affairs Committee met on May 10 to take up a full agenda. This report covers all bills on the agenda. The meeting notice can be found here.

This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the discussions on the various topics taken up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the discussions but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions.


Pending Business

SB 566 (Buckingham) (CS) – (9-2)

SB 14 (Creighton) – (8-1)

SB 23 (Huffman) (CS) – (8-3)

SB 220 (Zaffirini) – (11-0)

SB 424 (Hinojosa) – (11-0)

SB 760 (Springer) (CS) – (11-0)

SB 799 (Nelson) (CS) – (11-0)

SB 800 (Nelson) (CS) – (11-0)

SB 1202 (Hancock) – (11-0)

SB 2154 (Schwertner) – (10-0)

SJR 27 (Hancock) – (11-0)


SB 968 (Kolkhorst | et al.) – Relating to public health disaster and public health emergency preparedness and response; providing a civil penalty.

  • Restricts ability of Texas Medical board to limit non-emergency procedures
  • Clarifies and establishes difference between public health disaster and emergency
  • Establishes legislative approval/oversight during health disaster/emergency
  • Adds vaccine passport prohibitions to protect individual rights and privacy
  • Directs study of Texas COVID response and recommendations for improvements
  • Howard – How does legislative oversight function when not in session?
    • Kind of like LBB
  • Howard – So an appointed legislative body?
    • Yes, spelled out in bill
  • Howard – Is there funding secured for the oversight committee/will they be able to work with appropriations
    • Money was moved around in the Governor’s office, this brings legislature in
  • Metcalf – State epidemiologist will move to TDEM?
    • Yes, number of bills in this topic but we are going to work it out


Jackie Schlegel, Texans for Vaccine Choice – For

  • Many businesses, schools, sports organizations, etc. are forcing vaccination for COVID onto people – illusion of choice
  • No mandate in Texas for vaccinations – rights to exemptions under state law
  • Violation of principles of Texas and violation of informed consent


Reagan DeMarines, Texans for Vaccine Choice – For

  • Many businesses, schools, sports organizations, etc. are forcing vaccination for COVID onto people – illusion of choice
  • No mandate in Texas for vaccinations – rights to exemptions under state law


Dr. John Carlo, Texas Public Health Coalition – On

  • Cycle threshold report issues, unique to each machine that runs each test
  • Should Modify provision on vaccine passport to distinguish between FDA-approved and Emergency Use Authorization vaccinations
  • Consider leaving the state epidemiologist where they are
  • Consider modifying PPE standards as well
  • Harless – Do we need the vaccine passport?
    • There are conditions where it may be necessary; in healthcare, for fully-approved vaccines, there are required vaccinations; patients and caregiver safety issues
  • Harless – Will we not allow healthcare workers to work without vaccines?
    • There are ways to manage not being vaccinated, but there are certain patients that will require caregivers to be vaccinated
  • Shaheen – If there is a group of vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals, vaccinated individuals are at risk?
    • Yes, with the EUA, its not 100%, so if you are around non-vaccinated individuals, you can still get COVID and other diseases
    • It’s a safe and effective intervention
  • Shaheen – Isn’t there a reasonableness standard for the vaccination? Why are we calling thsees people out?
    • Lot of unknowns still – vaccine will wane in immunity
    • 90% isn’t 100%
  • Shaheen – Someone who has been vaccinated isn’t at reasonable risk
    • I understand your point, but there is still risk
    • The 10% risk over time becomes much more of a risk/danger over time
    • Dealing with specific COVID prevention, the example has been proven as a key answer
  • Howard – There are members of the House who have been fully vaccinated and still got COVID; I think the debate here is trying to find the right balance between vaccinations and choice.
    • Yes, there are situations where special considerations are needed
  • King – How to do deal with individuals with antibodies, who had COVID?
    • If its an employment decision, you don’t have just a monolithic policy/decision
    • IF there is evidence of antibodies, then that may be sufficient – a single vaccine passport doesn’t really solve the problem
  • King – Are there tests that can show vaccine having “kicked in”?
    • Not really


Andrea Gauthier, Brave Like Nick – For

  • Husband was forced to get TDAP booster shot during enlistment at Fort Hood
  • Resulted in massive medical conditions and side effects, critical condition, multiple codes, permanently disabled


Dawn Richardson, National Vaccine Information Center – On

  • You cant throw people under the bus because of the failure of a pharmaceutical company to make a product that works for people
  • If the protections only apply to EUA, companies will have full approval already
  • 3,800 COVID vaccine deaths this year
  • Bill needs to provide protections for denial of health care over immunity status
  • Provide protections for government forced vaccinations, to access government services or facilities


Left pending


SB 966 (Kolkhorst | et al.) – Relating to legislative oversight during a public health disaster or public health emergency, including the establishment of a legislative public health oversight board.

  • Establishes Legislative Public Health Oversight Board, how they function, and powers
  • Limits ability of DSHS commissioner from extending public health emergency past 90 days without approval


Dr. John Carlo, Texas Public Health Coalition – On

  • Intent is valid and important, but some details to examine
  • COVID is a major pandemic, but consider other pandemics
  • Public health emergency is not unlike other emergencies, legislature needs to be supportive of mobilizing resources
  • Recommends adding outside expertise including immunologists and agencies
  • Time is an unknown variable in public health emergencies; how will oversight board help mobilize resources quickly? Some outbreaks/emergencies have very time sensitive intervals
  • Howard – Some interim workgroups did call in outside expertise, and there was some discussion on a Public Health Advisory commission. Seems like a good idea for this oversight committee


Left pending


SB 475 (Nelson | et al.) (CS) – Relating to state agency and local government information management and security, including establishment of the state risk and authorization management program and the Texas volunteer incident response team; authorizing fees.

  • Strengthens data privacy provisions and implements some recommendations from privacy groups
  • Bill ensures higher standards are followed by agencies, including consistency and security for cloud databases
  • Includes provisions for rapid response team for cyberattacks and security breaches, and prohibits agencies for using biometric identifiers & location data without consent
  • Recent ransomware event this weekend on a major O&G and fuel pipeline shows need for bolstering cybersecurity


Hope Osborn, Texas 2036 – For

  • Data can improve government performance, including scaling resources and programs, allocating resources efficiently, and better customer service
  • Protects personal information while helping the state better serve citizens
  • Reduce overlap & redundancy and increase alignment & consistency
  • Colorado and Virginia have implemented similar programs & boards with success


Left pending

SCR 29 (Miles | et al.) – Expressing commitment to eliminating racially offensive place names and urging the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to approve requests to change racially offensive names of geographic features.

  • Resolution asks the Board to approve requests to change racially offensive names of certain geographic features in Texas


Richard Wade, Texas Geographic Names Committee – On

  • Process for changing names – Texas committee serves as impartial reviewer of name recommendations from the US Board – very strict process
  • Time to change a name is 8-18 months due to review processes
  • There have been some names pending since 1994, due to lack of supporting documentation from certain county officials approving changes and other needed documentation
  • Expect the June meeting of the US Board to change the names that were racially offensive, but we have now found 11 new names to be changed – need to collect the proper documentation to streamline the process
  • Howard – So the process has not up to this point included communication with counties? Will this be implemented going forward?
    • Yes, our recommendation is to actively involve counties in the name-change process, including communities and support from judges and city councils


Left pending


SB 62 (Zaffirini) – Relating to permitting the Texas Ethics Commission to provide seminars and charge an attendance fee for those seminars.

  • Allows Ethics Commission to roved seminars to those not directly involved in the commission for compliance purposes


Tom Forbes, Professional Advocacy Association of Texas – For

  • PAAT is a commitment to ethical practice and procedure – education is critical for that and we support any attempts to expand access to education


Left pending


SB 2188 (Seliger | et al.) (CS) – Relating to the municipal or county regulation of residential detention facilities for immigrant or refugee children.

  • Property owners in Texas have changed the purpose of their land by contracting with the federal government
  • Bill intent is to ensure private property owners have minimum standards of shelter, potable water, and access to plumbing resources before housing children


Left pending


SB 59 (Zaffirini) – Relating to the advertising and promotion of a state purchasing program for local governments.

  • Comptroller does not currently have funds to advertise for certain purchasing and procurement programs and contracts
  • Bill allows Comptroller access to funds for that purpose


Left pending


SB 1541 (Zaffirini) – Relating to the definition of business case for major information resources projects.

  • Relates to definition of business case for major information resources projects

Left pending