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May 8, 2007 (512) 463-0300

PERRY DECIDES NOT TO VETO HPV BILL

PHOTO
Senator Judith Zaffirini of Laredo passed a bill that exempts college textbooks from sales tax during the beginning of the spring and fall semesters.

(AUSTIN) -- When Governor Rick Perry issued a mandate in January requiring sixth grade girls to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, he set off a political debate about the powers of the legislature against the power of the executive branch. That debate ended on Tuesday, as Perry held a press conference announcing that he will not veto a bill that effectively cancels his January mandate. Lt. Governor David Dewhurst said this whole conflict could have been avoided if the Governor had consulted with the Legislature before issuing his mandate. "All the Governor would have had to do was talk to us, and he would have seen we would have embraced a program that was opt-in instead of opt-out," he said. Included in the bill that was sent to Perry to replace the mandate were provisions for development of educational materials to communicate the health risks, including a sharp increase in cervical cancer rates, of HPV infection.

The Senate approved a measure aimed at helping college students cope with the high cost of higher education. SB 49, by Laredo Senator Judith Zaffirini, would make college text books tax-free during the beginnings of the fall and spring semesters. Also passed Tuesday was a bill intended to help small towns and counties handle complex and expensive prosecutions. SB 2037, by Senator Steve Ogden of Bryan, would permit the state Attorney General to offer assistance to any prosecutor regarding prosecution of any case. Local DA's wouldn't have to worry about the state taking over all their big cases: prosecutors would be allowed to decline that assistance if they wish.

The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, May 9, 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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