With the cost of prescription medications rising across the country, Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston today filed a bill that would allow Texans to buy cheaper drugs from Canadian pharmacies. SB 518 would allow the Texas State Pharmacy Board to certify certain Canadian pharmacies and permit Texans to purchase medications from these pharmacies. This bill is intended to help needy Texans, particularly the uninsured and the elderly, cope with the high cost of many expensive but necessary drugs. "Texans that can't keep up with skyrocketing prices are either going without much needed medications or taking the more risky route buying who-knows-what from who knows where over the Internet," said Ellis, "This legislation will help Texans better afford expensive prescription drugs while maintaining the safety standards we demand." SB 518 has a number of key safety provisions to ensure drugs from Canada meet the same rigorous requirements mandated for Texas pharmacies. Medications must be approved by Health Canada, and must be U.S. manufactured or approved for sale in the U.S by the FDA. Consumers can purchase no more than a three month supply at one time and drugs can require no special handling requirements such as refrigeration. Ellis estimates that consumers can save as much as 75% on the price of some medicines, which can mean thousands of dollars of savings each month for patients with a large number of prescriptions.
Senator Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay proposed legislation today to increase the amount of energy provided by renewable resources in Texas. SB 533 would increase the state's reliance on sources of renewable energy, such as wind, hydroelectric and solar power over the next twenty years. The bill follows the recommendations made by the Texas Energy Planning Council, a 22-member panel that has studied the feasibility of renewable resource energy production in the state. The council recommends that the state generate 5,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2015, and 10,000 megawatts by 2025. Currently, the state law only requires a renewable resource energy capacity of 2,800 megawatts, mostly from wind and hydroelectric sources. Fraser said that in order for the state to reduce dependence on foreign sources of energy and develop a diverse energy portfolio, Texas must look to renewable forms of energy. "I am convinced that we must have more renewable sources such as wind generating the electricity that this state needs to meet demands of the 21st century," said Fraser. SB 533 would require the state's Public Utilities Commission to identify the areas best suited in Texas to locate renewable energy generators, such as windmills, and also find ways to create the transportation infrastructure to bring that energy to the state at large.
The Senate will reconvene Thursday, February 17th, at 10:00 A.M.