Senator Hegar's First Bill is On Its Way to the Governor
AUSTIN, TEXAS -- Yesterday, the Texas House of Representatives concurred with Senate amendments on House Bill 1098, by Senator Glenn Hegar, making it his first piece of legislation to make it through the legislative process this session. House Bill 1098 preempts Governor Rick Perry's Executive Order (RP 65), mandating that all 11 and 12 year old girls receive the Gardasil HPV vaccine before being admitted into the sixth grade.
Senator Hegar, who has lead the fight against the Governor's HPV mandate in the Legislature, filed a bill to reverse the mandate immediately after the Governor announced his Executive Order in early February. On Monday, after several weeks of discussion and publicity on the issue, Senator Hegar brought his bill before the Texas Senate, where his Senate colleagues approved the legislation to overturn the Governor's order with a vote of 30-1.
An earlier version of the bill, which lacked the four year sunset provision, passed out of the House last month by an overwhelming margin. The House again demonstrated overwhelming support of the legislation yesterday, by voting to concur with the Senate amendments.
Now HB 1098 is on its way to Governor Perry's office. Once received, Governor Perry will have ten days to sign the bill or veto it, or it becomes law without his signature. If he vetoes the bill while the Legislature is still in session, lawmakers can override his veto if two-thirds of each chamber vote to do so. However, given the House support of 135-2 and the Senate support of 30-1, the bill is virtually veto-proof. Governor Perry is expected to allow the ten days to expire, thus permitting the bill to become law without his signature.
Senator Hegar stated, "The passage of HB 1098 clearly shows that any additions to the mandatory vaccination list should be initiated and decided by the legislature. Texans must have confidence in the integrity of our vaccination programs and be assured that our children are protected against dangerous contagious diseases, yet also protected against improperly mandated vaccines."