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April 23, 2007 (512) 463-0300

SENATE VOTES TO STOP HPV MANDATE

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Health and Human Services Committee Chair Jane Nelson passed a bill today aimed at correcting shortcomings in the state's foster care system.

(AUSTIN) -- The Senate approved a House bill Monday that would override the Governor's January executive order requiring the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to be administered to all 6th grade girls in Texas. Many lawmakers were outraged at the order, which they saw as an infringement on the powers of the legislative branch. The bill passed Monday would effectively cancel the Governor's order, and would prevent another such order until 2011.

Senate sponsor Senator Glenn Hegar said setting immunization policy should be the purview of Senate and House, not the Governor's office. "We're trying to give us a resting period where we as a Legislature have a voice, and we get to decide what vaccines are mandated in the state of Texas, and which are not," he said.

The Senate also passed a bill Monday that seeks to address shortcomings in the state's foster care system. Last session, the Legislature approved a sweeping overhaul of Texas' Child and Adult Protective Services, but Health and Human Services Committee Chair Jane Nelson said there are still problems for the state's more than 28,000 foster children. Her bill, SB 758, would address many of these issues. "SB 758 further refines our efforts to protect abused and neglected children and focuses heavily on ensuring they have access to safe, loving foster homes," she said.

SB 758 seeks to improve government oversight by requiring that each foster care facility or home be visited by a caseworker at least once a year, and by creating a licensing committee within the Department of Family and Protective Services to look at violations and to keep current on national trends affecting foster care. It expands in-home services offered to at-risk families, and would allow judges to order intervention services for families before the children are removed from the home.

The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, April 24 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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