UPDATE: 3/20/2023 - Hearings were held and testimony was taken for HB 81, HB 44 and HB 1313. All three bills were left pending in committee.
Dear Texas NVIC Advocacy Team Members,
We are happy to share that three vaccine bills worthy of support, HB 81, HB 44, & HB 1313, are scheduled for a hearing in the House Public Health Committee on Monday, March 20th at 8:00 AM in the John H. Regan Building in Room 120.
This means that there is an opportunity for you to easily submit official written public comments online in support of these bills now and until the hearing is adjourned (concluded) on Monday March 20th. Your comments WILL be distributed to the legislators, so the sooner you can submit your comment for each bill, the more time there will be for legislators to read them before they vote on these bills.
Also, there is an opportunity to show up and testify in person on Monday, but minimally we are asking everyone to submit written comments online in support of these bills. Please scroll down to “Action Needed” for specific instructions.
HB 81 – SUPPORT, Prohibits any person from compelling or coercing an individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, requires informed consent
HB 81 would prohibit any person from compelling or coercing an individual lawfully residing in Texas into obtaining medical treatments involving the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine. This bill would make it unlawful for an individual to have any adverse action taken upon them for refusing to take a COVID-19 vaccine or to be compelled or coerced into taking a COVID-19 vaccine. It makes it illegal for a health care provider to give the COVID-19 vaccine if the person is being coerced or forced and doesn’t want the vaccine. There are hefty damages for violations set at a minimum of $5000. This language would effectively make mandates unenforceable.
The bill’s clever wording centering on informed consent and placement in the Health and Safety Code may make the bill’s protection untouchable by federal employer vaccine mandates for employees working at health care facilities receiving Medicaid or Medicare payments.
SUGGESTED COMMENTS: State that you are in support of the bill. Share personal stories about how COVID-19 vaccine mandates, coercion, or discrimination negatively affected you or someone close to you over the last 2 years to support why this bill is needed. If you or someone you know was fired, lost benefits, was denied access to a public accommodation or education for declining the COVID-19 vaccine, or had a negative health consequence from being required to take an unwanted COVID-19 vaccine, please share that as well. Please consider adding a comment suggesting the protections in this bill should be expanded to cover all vaccines, not just for COVID-19.
HB 44 – SUPPORT, Prohibits Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) providers from refusing to provide care to a participant based on vaccination status
This bill would prohibit health care practitioners providing care under Medicaid or CHIP from denying care to a participant based on which vaccines they did or did not receive.
Children on government assisted healthcare already have limited choices in covered healthcare providers. When providers refuse to give medical care to a child collectively in a geographical area based on vaccination status, this results in either no healthcare or coerced vaccination for the child. This is wrong for so many reasons but especially because Texas law allows for parents to refuse vaccination for their children with exemptions for either medical reasons or reasons of conscience including a religious belief.
Our tax dollars set aside to provide medical care for those who don’t have adequate insurance or can’t otherwise pay for the care should not be used to support coercing or forcing vaccination in exchange for care especially when Texas law allows parents to decline vaccination when they claim an exemption.
SUGGESTED COMMENTS: State that you are in support of the bill. Share personal stories of medical providers refusing care over vaccination status to show the need for legislation like this especially when parents have the right under state law to use vaccine exemptions. Please consider adding a comment that there is a problem with health care providers denying health care over vaccination status to everyone so the legislature should consider prohibiting discrimination or refusal of care over vaccination status for all Texans.
HB 1313 – SUPPORT, Requires Health & Human Services Commission in collaboration with the Department of State Health Services to conduct a study on adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines
This bill requires the Health and Human Services Commission, in collaboration with the Department of State Health Services, to conduct a study to assess the full and complete adverse reactions, including death, and effectiveness of each type of vaccine used in Texas for COVID-19.
The report must include immediate short-term side effects and adverse reactions, immediate serious side effects and adverse reactions recipients experienced, and any long-term side effects and adverse reactions recipients experienced from taking the various COVID-19 vaccines used in Texas.
The report also must include any misrepresentations about the effectiveness or dangers of taking of the vaccine by its manufacturers or any governmental agency and any concealment of information about the effectiveness or dangers of taking of the vaccine by its manufacturers or any governmental agency.
Information shall be gathered from the department’s vital statistics unit and the state Medicaid program, hospitals, treatment centers, available surveys, and other relevant sources.
Not later than January 1, 2024, the Commission and Department shall prepare and submit to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chairpersons of the relevant Texas legislative committees with jurisdiction over the Commission and the Department, a copy of the report, summary of any findings, and any recommendations for legislative or executive action to reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 vaccine side effects. The department may post the report on the department ’s Internet website.
This bill is necessary because COVID-19 vaccines have a terrible safety profile, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not acknowledged the extent of this safety problem and has failed to protect the American people including Texans.
34,653 deaths have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and 1,530,329 adverse events have been reported to VAERS where the Vaccine is either COVID-19 or COVID19-2 as of the 3/3/2023 release of VAERS data.
SUGGESTED COMMENTS: State that you are in support of the bill. Share your own personal stories or those of someone you know that has had a bad reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine to support the need for this bill. It is worth mentioning in your written comments if these reactions were not disclosed as a possibility prior to vaccination. You may want to consider suggesting the bill be amended to require that the Department of State Health Services publish the report on their website for the public to view. That is only optional for the department in the bill now.
1) Submit official written testimony in support of HB 81, HB 44, & HB 1313 before the House Public Health Committee hearing on these bills ends on Monday. The sooner you provide comments, the more likely the committee members will see your comments and consider them when voting on the bills.
Click on the link provided below to submit written testimony. Once on that page, select one of the bill numbers, fill out the form in support of the bill and submit your testimony. Do this three times, once for each bill.
Link to submit written public comments here – https://comments.house.texas.gov/home?c=c410
TIPS FOR COMMENTS: Read over the “suggested comments” above for each bill. Be polite, sincere, concise, and articulate in your written comments. It may help to draft your comments in your own word processing program first and save them. Then you can copy and paste them into the online form for this hearing. This way you don’t lose your comments if you lose internet connection when trying to submit them. You will also want your comments saved to be able to reuse them to express your support for the bills to your own Representative and Senator and to submit when the bills are heard in the Senate.
If you would like to reach out to any of the committee members by email or phone, there is a committee contact list at the bottom of this alert.
2) Attend the hearing and testify in support of HB 81, HB 44, & HB 1313. The hearing is scheduled in the House Public Health Committee on Monday, 3/20/2023 at 8:00 AM in the John H. Regan Building in Room 120. See the Agenda.
Public access to the John H. Reagan Building is available only through the east entrance. View capitol and parking maps.
Once you are on site, it is necessary to register to present testimony at the hearing. You can do that at one of the kiosks outside of the hearing room before entering the hearing room, or at this link: https://mytxlegis.capitol.texas.gov/HWRSPublic/About.aspx.
You will want to keep your comments to under 3 minutes. If you have printed material to share with the legislators, when it is your turn to testify, submit 12 copies to the clerk before you go up to the podium.
If you would like to watch the hearing from home, you can tune in to the live video/audio here - https://house.texas.gov/video-audio/.
3) Contact your own Texas Representative and Senator and ask them to SUPPORT HB 81, HB 44, & HB 1313. You can use the same comments you used with the committee.
To find your legislators, login to the NVIC Advocacy Portal at http://NVICAdvocacy.org. Click on the red button on the homepage that says “Go to my State” or “My State” on the STATE TEAMS tab. Your personal state legislators are listed at the bottom of the page. You can click on your legislators’ names to get phone numbers, emails, web contact forms, and even links to their social media to connect with them. You can also find your state legislators on the Texas Legislative site at this link: https://capitol.texas.gov and scrolling to the bottom right side of the page to enter your address.
4) Please share this action alert with family and friends.
You can forward this email or share this link by text or social media:
5) Sign up to get NVIC’s Texas Heads Up text alerts
Text “Texas” to 202-618-5488.
6) Login to the NVIC Advocacy Portal OFTEN and check for updates on your Texas state page: http://NVICAdvocacy.org
We review bills and make updates daily. Bills can change many times over the legislative process and your timely visits, testimony, calls, and emails directed at the correct legislators are critical to this process.
CONTACT LIST FOR HOUSE PUBLIC HEALTH COMMITTEE
Chair: Representative Stephanie Klick | (512) 463-0599
Vice Chair: Representative Elizabeth Campos | (512) 463-0452
Representative Nicole Collier | (512) 463-0716
Representative Jacey Jetton | (512) 463-0710
Representative Ann Johnson | (512) 463-0389
Representative Jolanda Jones | (512) 463-0524
Representative Venton C. Jones | (512) 463-0586
Representative Tom Oliverson | (512) 463-0661
Representative Four Price | (512) 463-0470
Representative Reggie Smith | (512) 463-0297
Representative Tony Tinderholt | (512) 463-0624
Emails (copy and paste these addresses into your “To” field):
[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]ouse.texas.gov; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected];
Dawn Richardson, Director of Advocacy
National Vaccine Information Center
http://NVIC.org and http://NVICAdvocacy.org
The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) works diligently to prepare and disseminate our legislative advocacy action alerts and supporting materials. We request that organizations and members of the public forward our alerts in their original form to ensure consistent and accurate messaging and effective action. Please acknowledge NVIC as originators of this work prominently when using any of this information written and compiled by NVIC or forwarding this alert to members of the public and like-minded organizations. To receive alerts by email, register at http://NVICAdvocacy.org, a website dedicated to this sole purpose and provided as a free public service by NVIC.