Elayne Esterline


Last Attempt At Parental Consent

With the death of both parental consent bills, SB 1150 and HB 1212, there is only one vehicle left to advance parental consent this session. Rep. Will Hartnett (R-Dallas) and Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford) introduced a parental consent amendment to SB 419, (Texas State Board of Medical Examiners Sunset Bill) on the House floor. The amendment does not include language to alter judicial bypass that was part of the introduced version of the amendment.

The bill cleared both the House and the Senate and will now have to pass through the Senate conference committee by next Monday, May 30. Conference committee members have been named and include Nelson, Harris, Eltife, Deuell, and Zaffirini. House conferees have not yet been named.

 

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Can't Keep a "Good" Consent Bill Down!

Last Sunday, SB 1150, the Parental Consent Bill, was killed by a point of order in the House due to a technical fault from the House State Affairs Committee. This is the second time a parental consent bill has died this session from errors out of the House State Affairs Committee.

 

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Harris Threatens To "Kill Bill"

Yesterday, the Senate passed SB 1150 by Harris (R-Arlington), the "clean" parental consent bill, on a bipartisan 25-5 vote. Unlike previous attempts at parental consent legislation, this bill merely changes parental notification to parental consent, without altering any other language in current law on abortions for minors. The bill requires that physicians obtain the written consent of a parent before performing an abortion on a minor. Senator Harris laid out the bill making it clear he would not allow the bill to be altered at all. The conversation proceeded as follows:

Sen. Harris: “This bill provides for judicial bypass. Senators, I simply tracked the language as far as notification and changed that to consent.”

 

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Who Listens To What the House Says?

Last Wednesday (May 11, 2005) the House debated Rep. Krusee’s controversial transportation bill- HB 2702 relating to the Trans Texas Corridor. After more than two hours of debate, more than 30 amendments had been proposed. The bill passed the House with 24 of the 30 amendments.

 

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Battle Over Consent Continues- Day 2

As expected, SB 419 (a routine agency reauthorization bill) was laid out for discussion at 11:03 a.m. this morning on the House floor. Eight amendments were introduced-- of which five were adopted, one was withdrawn, and one failed.

Parental consent amendments to SB 419 make it a license violation for a doctor to perform an abortion without getting a signed consent form from a parent, legal guardian or managing conservator. Pro-choice groups say these amendments are intimidation tactics to preclude doctors from performing abortions. A representative from NARAL Pro-Choice Texas says this parental consent amendment is just one more disincentive for a physician to perform an abortion. She says the State already imposes many requirements on physicians who perform abortions and it is obvious that this is another attempt to discourage physicians from performing legal abortions.

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Parental Consent Back On The Floor

In an unanticipated move yesterday, Rep. Will Harnett tacked on an amendment toSB 419 (The Medical Examiners Sunset bill) adding performing an abortion on a minor without written consent or court order to the list of prohibited acts listed in the occupations code 164.052(a).

 

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R.I.P. HB 1212

Here we go again! As soon as HB 1212 on parental consent hit the House floor yesterday, a Point of Order was called based on a witness form that was filled out incorrectly in a previous House State Affairs Committee hearing. Rep. King (author of the bill) announced from the floor that there was a valid point of order, so he pulled down the bill himself allowing ample time for other bills to be heard before the midnight deadline. So it seems HB 1212 is really dead.

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Redefining House Rules The Craddick Way

HB 1212 on parental consent was introduced to the House floor just before 8pm last night. Rep. King (author of the bill) was comparing tattoos to abortions when a Point of Order was called on the bill. Apparently, Rep. Guillen was mistakenly listed as a joint author on the committee report, violating Rule 8 Section 5 C of the House Rules that says joint authors shall be shown on all official printings of the measure.


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HB 1212 is set!

Turns out parental consent is coming to a House floor near you. HB 1212 is set on Tuesday's House Calendar.

It has been placed on the "Major State Calendar," which is a category within the Daily House Calendar. According to a Senate staffer, this category is where the most "important" bills are sent in the House. He says that most bills that are placed on this calendar are a sure bet that they will go through the chamber.

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Dissent Over Parental Consent?

Some of this session's most controversial abortion bills that moved through the House State Affairs Committee last month are currently sitting in calendars waiting to be heard on the floor. The last day a bill can be set is next Thursday, and all eyes are on Rep. King's HB 1212 which would make parental consent mandatory for minors seeking abortions. Despite Gov Perry's public support of the bill, there seems to be debate on whether it will pass.

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Control Election Fraud Or Control Elections?

Monday afternoon, during the House debate of HB 1706, Rep. Denny (R-Flower Mound) (author of the bill) said she wanted to “maintain the integrity of our election process” by requiring voters show their voter registration certificate and either a photo ID or two other forms of identification. Half an hour or so later, Chairwoman Denny said the bill would make it more difficult for some people to vote than others. When did “maintaining the integrity” of our elections come to mean disenfranchising more voters, especially minorities, seniors, disabled and impoverished people?

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What happened to stem cells?

The State Affairs Committee did not meet yesterday and won’t meet again until Monday. But as we witnessed the past three weeks, two big issues unleashed debate over the right to life- stem cells and abortion (mainly, parental consent for minors). But one has to wonder why two contentious issues were handled so differently by the Committee.

 

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Taxes or Tolls

HB 1964 by Rep. Dukes will be heard at the House Ways and Means Committee hearing taking place this afternoon. The bill would allow certain counties to levy a local gas tax at a rate of three to ten cents per gallon, and the proceeds of the tax would be used by the Regional Mobility Authority (RMA) for transportation purposes.

 

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Costly Accountability

In the wake of a series of corporate financial scandals, including those affecting Enron and WorldCom, the federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act was passed to help restore trust in public companies and safeguard national capital markets. But, heightened accountability and penalty for corporations could mean higher costs for businesses, nonprofits and government, and for Texas tax payers. Today in the House State Affairs Committee, members heard testimony on HB 2842 by Chisum (R-Pampa), one of the bills created to “align Texas law with Sarbanes-Oxley and to insure officers and directors of public interest entities who willfully mislead auditors of those entities are subject to (felony) penalties.” (according to the bill analysis)

 

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High Hopes

Some pro-choice activists have high hopes that anti-abortion legislation heard in the marathon State Affairs Committee meeting Wednesday, April 13th, will be rejected. According to Kae McLaughlin, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, even the Republican supporters of anti-abortion and anti-choice legislation “were holding their noses before it was all over!”

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Clear and Convincing Evidence

Late last night the State Affairs Committee heard testimony regarding the potential impact of one of HB 1212’s provisions, the clear and convincing evidence standard requirement. Current law requires the judge to find by a "preponderance of evidence" that a minor meets the requirements for a bypass. HB 1212 would elevate that standard to "clear and convincing evidence." Professor Albright testified that this standard is a much tougher standard of proof.

 

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Injudicious Bypass

After an often ineloquent debate between State Affairs Committee members and Rep. King regarding his HB 1212, shortly before midnight Wednesday Professor Albright from the University of Texas Law School alleviated some of the concern raised from misinterpretations and contradictions in earlier testimony. HB 1212 would require a minor seeking an abortion to obtain a written affidavit of consent from one parent or guardian before she could have an abortion. Albright says the bill is unconstitutional and might not stand up to the challenge. Here are some of her major points:

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Corte Plays Dumb

When all else fails, just play stupid! That was ostensibly Rep. Frank Corte’s game plan this morning during the House State Affairs Committee hearing on HB 16. At today’s meeting, Corte claimed when he filed HB 16 he had no expectation that it would be so controversial. Of course not, abortion is never a controversial issue! So, as any good politician would do, Corte decided to file a clean-up substitute bill.

 

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