February 06, 2007
Perry's needle problem: Day Three

I have to say, however the matter of Governor Perry's Executive Suggestion regarding the HPV vaccine plays out, it's been all kinds of fun watching the Republican-on-Republican action that has resulted from it.

"This needs closer examination. How much will it cost the state?" asked Sen. Jane Nelson, chairwoman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, at a press conference. "Most importantly, as a mother of four daughters, I want to make sure our daughters' health is protected and parental rights are preserved."

Nelson, R-Lewisville, asked Perry to reverse his order and said she also would ask the attorney general whether the Legislature has any recourse if he doesn't.

Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, said he would file legislation to reverse Perry's order. There also is the question of what happens to several bills already filed to make the human papilloma virus shots mandatory for school enrollment.


Nelson said her computer was "burning up" with e-mail from other lawmakers and citizens angered by Perry's action. Saying that the public had a right to testify about the issue, Nelson said she was stunned about the decision and worried about the precedent it might set.

House Ways and Means Chairman Jim Keffer, R-Eastland, said he supports the vaccine, but he noted that other state legislatures have decided not to make it mandatory.

"What kind of deal was made?" asked Keffer, apparently referring to comments by Cathie Adams, president of Texas Eagle Forum, that political ties by drug company Merck, maker of the Gardasil vaccine, may have influenced the governor's decision.

I'll say again that the process objection is one that carries some weight with me, but let's be honest here. If this order had been to establish something like a fund promoting abstinence, would Jane Nelson, Glenn Hegar, and assorted others be out in front of the cameras demanding that "the public have a say" and "the Lege should be allowed to do its job"? Call me crazy, but I think not. I freely admit that my inclination to support this action has everything to do with what it provides, and that this has pushed my concern for procedural questions to the back burner. However much contempt I have for the Cathie Adams crowd, at least they've maintained consistency by not being bothered by such niceties. It's all about the end result for them. Why shouldn't I feel that way the one time in this administration that the result goes in a direction I like?

Because I don't want to be lumped with them, that's why. Man, I hate nuance sometimes.

Look, can someone please get Nelson, Hegar, Howard, Patrick, et al on record stating unequivocally that any time any Governor tries to circumvent the Lege and appropriate funds via Executive Order they'll object to it regardless of what those funds are being appropriated for and what their odds of passage would be by the normal channels? If I'm going to argue against my own interests, I'd at least like to know that I won't end up looking like a chump for it.

Finally, as far as the dark imprecations being muttered about the insidious influence that campaign contributions may have had on Perry's decision, I think a picture will say more than any words I can type here:

Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.
Captain Renault: Everybody out at once!

Okay, maybe a few words. You get the idea. My thanks to Julia for the photographic inspiration.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 06, 2007 to Show Business for Ugly People