February 08, 2007
McCown on the HPV order

Scott McCown of the Center for Public Policy Priorities wades in on the HPV vaccination controversy and makes the same point I did, with a lot more detail.

Both the vaccination order and the 65 percent order, however, violate the law in the same way. Under the state constitution, the governor administers the law; the governor doesn't make the law. This principle is textbook civics. Making law is for the Legislature.

With this principle so clear, how can the governor possibly claim the authority to require vaccinations? Well, when the Legislature passes a law, it cannot think of every detail, particularly in our increasingly complex world. To deal with the details, the Legislature often authorizes a state agency to adopt rules. So, in his executive order, the governor hasn't actually required vaccinations; rather, he has ordered a state agency to write a rule requiring vaccinations.

Rules, however, must be consistent with state law and must implement, not expand, the law. To ensure that rules comply with the law, the Legislature requires a state agency to go through a careful process of evaluating its legal authority before adopting a rule. In addition, to ensure that a rule is wise, the Legislature requires a state agency to give the public notice of any proposed rule, give the public a chance to comment, consider the public's comments and provide a written justification for the final rule.

Having heard no cry of outrage from the Legislature over his 65 percent order, the governor has grown bolder, leading to his latest order to a state agency to adopt a rule regardless of legal review, public comments or agency judgment. We have no idea what he may decree next.

I'll say it again: If conservatives are mad about Rick Perry's usurpation of the legislative process with the HPV vaccine order, they should have stepped up and complained about the exact same kind of usurpation when he implemented the 65% Rule by executive fiat. It's not too late for them to do that, either. If one was wrong then so's the other, and it's time for them both to go. If not, if it's just politics, then I'll take my winnings and go home. We're in this together or we're in it for ourselves. I'm willing if they are, but I want to see what their commitment to this principle really looks like before I jump in. What say you, Sen. Nelson?

Meanwhile, Chris Bell released a letter urging support for Governor Perry's order. Not everybody in his target audience was impressed. The Harris County Republican Party has issued a call to action to oppose Perry's order (but not the 65% rule, of course - that's just different). And on it goes.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 08, 2007 to Show Business for Ugly People