FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/18/2015
State Rep. White Meets With UIL State Qualifiers
The weekend of May 9th, Newton County lost its County Judge in an unfortunate accident. The following Monday the House went into recess in his memory. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the Honorable Ronnie W. Boyett. I am reminded of Matthew 5:4 which says, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."
May is one of the most critical months in the Texas Legislature because of the series of deadlines the House will meet. This last week the House was in a time crunch as Thursday was one of the most important deadlines placed in the House rules. By Thursday at midnight, the House could no longer hear House bills on second reading meaning that a large amount of bills filed were no longer viable due to the deadline.
However, with the deadline looming, the House still managed to pass several important pieces of legislation. Late Thursday evening, the House passed House Bill 3994, which seeks to improve the protection of minors by addressing reforms to the judicial bypass system. In the current system a minor may bypass her parents to get an abortion. This bill requires clear and convincing evidence, rather than the preponderance of evidence, in order to ensure the health and safety of the minor.
HB 3774, another pro-life piece of legislation, which increases information and resources available relating to Down Syndrome passed the House. This bill requires the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to produce information regarding Down Syndrome, including information addressing physical, developmental, educational, and psychosocial outcomes, life expectancy, clinical course, and intellectual and functional development for individuals with Down Syndrome. The bill authorizes a health care provider to provide additional information about Down Syndrome that is current and evidence-based, and has been reviewed by medical experts and national Down Syndrome organizations. HB 3774 requires medical providers to distribute this information to expectant parents when a prenatal test indicates a probability of a Down syndrome diagnosis or is diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth.
Friday, the House also passed HB 3074, which reforms the statute governing end-of-life care to ensure that vulnerable patients are not denied basic human care such as food, water and pain management. The current Texas Advance Directives Act lacks clarity given the complexity of end-of-life care. The most glaring flaw in current law allows the withdrawal of food, water, and pain medication with no medical standard for their withdrawal. This bill seeks to rectify those issues by ensuring that medical care is provided unless the provisions are detrimental to the patient or goes against the will of the patient.
I also passed HB 1150 which will expand the dates in which fireworks can be sold in the state. The dates include Memorial Day, Texas Independence Day, and San Jacinto Day. These are holidays that deserve to be commemorated for their contribution to our history as proud Texans and Americans.
This past weekend was the State Track Meet and I invited all the schools from House District 19 who were participating to come visit their Capitol. Student Athletes and their coaches from Chester, Deweyville, Hardin-Jefferson, Jasper, and Lumberton were able to take time out of their athletic schedule to come visit their State Capitol. I would like to congratulate Jordan Welborn from Lumberton High School on her 2nd place in 1600m and Tyanna Barlow of Leggett High School on her 2nd place in Girls Long Jump. Also, a big congratulations to the Jasper High School Boys 4x200 on placing 3rd.