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March 19, 2007 (512) 463-0300

SENATE APPROVES DEFIBRILLATOR BILL

(AUSTIN) -- Every public and private school in Texas would have to have an automated defibrillator on campus if a bill approved Monday by the Senate becomes law. Senate Bill 7, sponsored by Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, would require that at least one automatic external defibrillator (AED) device be on every school's campus in Texas. It would also mandate at least one school official or employee be trained in its use. These devices are designed for use by laymen, and can detect heart function anomalies and administer the appropriate amount of electric shock to restore normal heart functions.

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Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (left) and Senator Jane Nelson debate a measure that would require all schools in Texas to keep an automatic defibrillation device on campus.

Senator Jane Nelson of Lewisville, who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, said it's about time Texas passed this law. "We have become more and more aware of the necessity to have these devices in every high school," she said. "We have so many lives unnecessarily lost because we didn't have a readily available AED. That's inexcusable."

The bill was amended on the floor to include private schools in the requirements. The bill will permit the Texas Education Agency to accept private donations to offset the cost of these devices.

The Senate also approved a House measure that seeks to reduce the burden on county clerk's offices with respect to information privacy. A recent Attorney General's opinion stated that county clerk's offices could be liable in the event certain uncensored social security information became public. The burden of redacting all those documents caused an uproar among many Texas county clerks' offices, resulting in some offices closing to reduce liability.

The measure approved today, House Bill 2061, sponsored by Senator Tommy Williams of the Woodlands, would put the burden of redacting Social Security numbers upon the entity that files a document with the county clerk, rather than the clerk's office. The bill also permits Texans to request from a county clerk's office that all documents containing their Social Security numbers be blacked out except for the last four numbers.

The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, March 20, at 11 a.m.

Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.

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