Senator Robert "Bob" Deuell, M.D.
The Texas State Senate
District 2

For Immediate Release
June 20, 2005

***CAPITOL UPDATE***

Deuell Bills Passed in 79th Session

The Texas Legislature enacted a lengthy list of laws affecting Texans' daily lives. I personally passed over 40 Senate and House bills dealing with a host of issues. This update will focus on some of the Senate Bills that passed and have been sent to the Governor. In the coming weeks, I will continue to outline and discuss the bills I passed during the regular session.

Senate Bill 310 - Relating to certain diseases or illnesses suffered by firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Current Texas law provides that public safety personnel who contract certain occupational diseases may receive benefits if the person can prove that the disease was caused by an exposure in the line of duty, and if a specific exposure is documented in a timely manner. There is a lack of available benefits to those who do not show the effects of a disease that they contracted in the line of duty until later. C.S.S.B. 310 provides a rebuttal presumption for firefighters and emergency medical technicians for certain diseases, including heart disease, tuberculosis, respiratory illness, and cancer.

Senate Bill 330 - Relating to the creation of a stroke committee and the development of a statewide stroke emergency transport plan and stroke facility criteria. Strokes account for a significant number of deaths in Texas. After a stroke, every minute that elapses without treatment significantly reduces the victim's chance for survival. C.S.S.B. 330 establishes a stroke committee to create a stroke emergency transport plan. The plan will help EMS personnel become sufficiently prepared to treat stroke.

Senate Bill 468 - Relating to the depository designated by the Hunt Memorial Hospital District.

S.B. 562, passed by the 60th Legislature, Regular Session, 1967, created the Greenville Hospital District (district). In Section 12 of S.B. 562, the legislature authorized the board of directors of the district to accept bids to designate a depository bank to serve as such for a term of two years after which time bids would be considered to award depository status for successive terms. S.B. 562 has been amended several times, most notably, by H.B. 2127 of the 67th Legislature, Regular Session, 1981, which extended the boundaries of the Greenville Hospital District to the boundaries of Hunt County; the district subsequently became known as the Hunt Memorial Hospital District (HMHD)As the expenses associated with obtaining bids and/or changing depository banks have continued to increase, the HMHD no longer feels it is cost effective to re-bid the contract every two years. As proposed, S.B. 468 extends the interval between re-bidding so that a depository bank may serve as such for a period of five years.

Senate Bill 511 - Relating to public testimony at regular meetings of the governing board of a general academic teaching institution. Currently, Boards of Regents are not required to permit public testimony from public at hearings. Students, alumni, and members of the community often would like to provide their views on how decisions of the boards affect them. As proposed, S.B. 511 requires boards of regents to allow a reasonable amount of both written and oral testimony at their regular meetings.

Senate Bill 523 - Relating to the regional emergency medical dispatch resource center pilot program. The 78th Texas Legislature, 2003, approved a pilot program to test the efficacy of using emergency medical dispatchers located in a regional dispatch resource center to provide pre-arrival instructions to 911 callers in certain parts of rural Texas. Funding was appropriated last session but the pilot program has not yet been instituted. S.B. 523 reintroduces the pilot program, extends its expiration date, and updates references made to the Texas Department of Health.

Senate Bill 565 - Relating to the posting of a list of employees in certain child-care facilities and family homes. Currently, day care centers, group day-care homes, and family homes are not required to post a list of current employees for the benefit of parents or guardians of children who attend or may attend the facility. This information could be useful to parents or guardians in determining whether a child should attend the facility. S.B. 565 would remedy this situation by requiring such information to be posted.

Senate Bill 566 - Relating to a Medicaid buy-in program for employed persons with disabilities. H.B. 3484, enacted by the 78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003, authorized the Texas Department of Health to study the establishment of a Medicaid buy-in program in Texas. This program allows persons with disabilities to take employment without losing their Medicaid benefits upon which they rely. The study on this program has been completed by the Texas Department of Health, now the Department of State Health Services, and is ready for implementation. S.B. 566 requires that the Medicaid buy-in program be implemented.

To contact Sen. Deuell about the legislative process, contact the Capitol Office at (512) 463-0102 or mail to Sen. Bob Deuell, Texas Senate, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711. The website for the Texas Senate is www.Senate.state.tx.us. The e-mail address for Sen. Deuell is: bob.deuell@senate.state.tx.us.

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