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Senator Nelson Makes List of Best Legislators
AUSTIN — Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today was named one of the best legislators of the 2013 legislative session by Capitol Inside. She was one of four Senators to make the list and the only Republican woman.
"It is an honor to be recognized for our hard work this session. We worked very hard to protect the economic success we have built here in Texas by sticking to our policies of fiscal responsibility and a welcoming climate for business," she said. "We also invested in our future, ensuring that every child has access to a great education, meeting our growing infrastructure needs, and protecting our most vulnerable citizens." The text of the article, which appears at capitolinside.com, follows:
State Senator Jane Nelson has become one of the world's most accomplished jugglers as a conservative Republican who's been responsible for the well-being of poor adults and children as the chair of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee for the past 10 years. But Nelson has matured into a much more effective and pragmatic legislator than she was during her rookie year as the committee chief - and she needed her A-game more than ever this time around to keep her fellow Republicans from being their own worst enemies in a feeding frenzy on ObamaCare.
The veteran suburban lawmaker who some Democrats had dubbed Calamity Jane in the early stages of her Senate career had to be innovative and move swiftly to head off a cataclysm on Medicaid that could have had devastating fiscal repercussions if the situation hadn't been handled with the utmost of care. While many GOP colleagues had rallied feverishly behind Governor Rick Perry's tirade against federal intrusion and opposition to a White House-induced Medicaid expansion, Nelson went to work on a way to achieve that without throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Nelson thought she'd pulled off the tricky task with a pair of bills that cracked down on Medicaid fraud and overhauled state policy on long-term care for the elderly and disabled with a new managed care system. But the package snagged at the last minute on a well-meaning House amendment that had the potential to defeat the purpose of her judicial approach with an outright ban on a Medicaid expansion - and that sent scurrying back to the drawing board with almost no time remaining to find a super-quick fix to a highly complicated problem. Nelson found a way to redesign the provision in a way that she said would prohibit the broadening of Medicaid eligibility that Perry and the GOP majority opposed without pushing the state into non-compliance in a move that could have cost Texas a fortune.
While Nelson saved the baby on Medicaid, she wasn't happy at all about the damage control she was compelled to undertake on a state cancer-fighting program that she had helped conceive several years before it became embroiled in a major scandal. Nelson, who'd sponsored the legislation that created the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas after voters approved it in 2007, responded to revelations of potential illegal sweetheart dealing at CPRIT as the author of an ethics plan that aims to prevent the temptation for future shenanigans. Nelson argued that the agency's troubles hadn't diminished the worthiness of the cause that spawned it - but she added that she and her colleagues should be ashamed of themselves for failing to anticipate the potential for corruption at CPRIT. Nelson passed more than three dozen pieces of legislation this year - but she's been too successful as a legislator to declare that one as a victory.
SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.