While the 88th Legislature saw some pretty big wins, such as prohibiting the gender transitioning of minors, safeguarding children against explicit drag performances and obscene books in school libraries, and passing legislation to incentivize the construction of new dispatchable generation facilities, there remain key pieces of legislation which failed to pass during the 88th legislative session, so our work continues.
Several very good bills failed to cross the finish line. These include vaccine freedom and hardening the grid against malicious attacks.
Several bills were filed that center upon two key aspects of vaccine freedom: mandates and discrimination.
Largely, the most important issue was a measure to prohibit the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) from adding the COVID vaccine to the list of required childhood immunizations. While DSHS is not required to follow the CDC recommendations, for the most part, over the years they have adopted the recommended vaccines and immunization schedule issued by the CDC. This has to change. If we learned anything living through COVID, it was that the federal health agencies are controlled by big pharma and cannot be trusted.
Senate Bill 1177 , which I authored, would have prohibited DSHS from adding the COVID vaccine to the immunization schedule by removing their ability to add any new vaccine to the schedule. Any future changes to the vaccine schedule would have had to be made legislatively. This measure, in multiple forms, failed to pass, leaving young Texans at risk of unnecessary immunizations.
Vaccine discrimination was another hot topic that did not make it to the governor’s desk. Senate Bill 304, which I authored, would have prohibited discrimination against a person in employment, healthcare, school enrollment, and public accommodations based on their vaccine status. Given the appalling way the COVID vaccine was manufactured, tested (or more precisely, not tested) and forced upon the American people, with nothing short of coercion. This failure to protect Texans is truly disturbing. We must pass future legislation to ensure no one can be discriminated against based on their vaccination status.
Secondly, hardening the grid has been a priority of mine since I took office in 2015. Over the years, the version of the legislation has been tweaked, culminating in this session as the most tolerable version for both sides of the aisle. Changed from a sweeping regulatory bill, Senate Bill 330 ended up establishing the Texas Grid Security Commission to evaluate the risk of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and geomagnetic disturbances (GMD) threats to the grid, as well as to critical infrastructure and make recommendations to the legislature to mitigate the risks. Although this bill was widely-supported, it still failed to pass the House on one of the final calendars due to Democrats unnecessary chubbing.
Once again, Texas legislators failed to take action to protect Texans from an ever-increasing threat of a total grid collapse.
Team Hall will continue to work on these important issues to prepare for the next session, our constituents deserve nothing less. #PromisesMadePromisesKept #TXLege