April 24, 2007
Senate blocks Perry's HPV order

Well, in one area at least, the Lege is standing up to Governor Perry for his attempts at grabbing power.

The Senate Monday passed a bill overturning Gov. Rick Perry's order that middle-school girls be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus linked to cervical cancer, with a requirement that the issue be reviewed in four years.

After a brief debate, the Senate voted 30-1, with Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, casting the lone "no" vote.

The bill would prevent the HPV vaccine from being required for school enrollment until 2011. The version passed by the House has no expiration date.

Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, who is sponsoring House Bill 1098 in the Senate, said the bill would provide a "resting period" for lawmakers to decide whether vaccinating girls against the human papillomavirus should be state policy.

Though I think the goal of the HPV executive order was worthwhile, I think it was proper (if rather hypocritical) of the Lege to push back. I think this is an overreaction, but I suppose I should be glad they didn't ban it forever.

Having said that, the issue is not fully settled yet:

Van de Putte tried unsuccessfully to have the ban against the HPV mandate expire in 2009, the next regular session. "I would ask that you consider the young women in this state, especially those who are exposed to this virus and will eventually die of this illness."

The House sponsor, Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, said it is a good idea to revisit the issue in four years. If the House concurs, the bill would go to Perry, who would have 10 days to sign it, let it become law without his signature or veto it.

As with the toll road moratorium, the issue still needs to be resolved in conference, then re-approved by both chambers. Only if these things can be done soon will there be a chance to override a veto from Perry. In other words, the final chapter of this story hasn't been written yet.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 24, 2007 to That's our Lege