85th Legislative Session Summary

Victory 1: WE WON! We were 4-0 on the House floor with pro-parent amendments, with two bills being passed into law!

HB 7: Two amendments to prevent CPS from using vaccination status as “evidence” to remove children from the home and to terminate parental rights were adopted, and HB 7 was signed by Gov. Abbott.

SB 11: Two amendments, one preventing vaccinations from being administered without parental consent during initial medical exams given to children upon removal from their homes and the other more logically prioritizing those medical exams, were adopted, and SB 11 was signed by Gov. Abbott.

HB 39: Two Victories

  1. Sarah Davis attempted to add an amendment to allow HPV vaccinations to be given without parental consent to children taken by CPS during their initial medical exams. A vote was taken to strike down this amendment, and the amendment was tabled.
  2. An amendment that would prevent vaccinations from being administered without parental consent during initial medical exams given to children upon removal from their homes was adopted.

Victory 2: Seven diverse pro-vaccine choice bills were filed. These were the first PRO-vaccine choice bills filed since 2003!

HB 1029 (Zedler) / SB 479 (Burton): Defining informed consent for vaccination

HB 1070 (Leach): Preventing Medicaid doctors from discriminating based on vaccination status

HB 1124 (Krause) / SB 2008 (V. Taylor): Easing the process to obtain the immunization exemption form

HB 2874 (Schaefer): Streamlining the information that ISDs must provide about immunization exemptions

HB 3297 (Burrows): Preventing CPS from using vaccination status as “evidence”

Victory 3: All dangerous bills were stopped.

Ten bills were filed that TFVC actively opposed. Only one, HB 2249, known as the Parents Right to Know by Rep. Sheffield, had a hearing. This bill would have reported vaccination and exemption rates at the campus level. Despite HB 2249 having bipartisan opposition and TFVC bringing strong testimony against the bill during the hearing, HB 2249 was voted out of the Public Health Committee. However, it was ultimately killed in a coordinated effort with our champion legislators in the notorious Mother’s Day Massacre.

Victory 4: We obtained one hearing for one bill we support.

HB 1124 was heard in the Public Health Committee. Chairman Price agreed to set the hearing if we agreed to ONE testimony in support of the bill. We agreed and narrowed our argument down to one powerful testimony. Chairman Price never called for a vote but assured Rep. Krause that almost all of the members of the Public Health Committee supported the bill.

Victory 5: TFVC was actively engaged throughout Session.

Session Kick-off: Ten members from our core volunteer team attended. We canvassed the capitol with TFVC promo materials and livestreamed on social media to create session momentum and excitement.

Rally: Over 300 people were in attendance and 9 legislators participated in the day’s events.

Citizen Engagement Days (CED): We hosted 3 CEDs where members were invited to the capitol to visit legislator offices. Each CED had a specific goal and target audience based on the highest legislative need at that time in the Session. Average member attendance was 34 (range: 25 to 47).

Bill Sponsor Blitz: About 10 individuals (invited from our Austin member families) stood at the chamber doors to hand out small fliers that outlined our bills to all representatives and encouraged them to co-author. Outcome: 6-8 new co-authors signed on to each of our priority bills.

Legislative Action Alerts: Action Alerts were executed promptly, clearly, and were communicated via member emails and posts on social media.

Member Survey: In a survey of our members who are politically active with other organizations, our members ranked TFVC highest in enthusiasm, organization, and citizen empowerment.

Texas Freedom Caucus: This newly formed caucus made vaccine choice a legislative priority.

Progress with Moderate Republicans: While more moderate republicans were reluctant to get on board as “champions,” we saw a drastic increase in their support on social media, with being welcomed into their offices, with their availability to speak directly with us, and, most importantly, with their vote.

Post-Session Legislator Survey: Champion legislators overwhelmingly ranked TFVC as exceptional in areas such as understanding the message and mission of TFVC, our ability to communicate our mission and message, our office communications, our efforts countering our opposition, and providing proper education and materials to defend vaccine choice, including 75% who indicated they would be open to authoring a bill in 2019.

Membership: We increased by 26% during Session.

Capitol Presence: We had daily presence at the capitol during Session.

Facebook: We increased our followers by 33% during Session.

Emails Sent: 82,430 total emails were sent to our members and 4,316 total emails were sent to legislators during Session.

 

In summary, through strategic consulting, legislator mentorship, movement partnerships with existing organizations such as Empower Texans, Texas Right to Life, Texas Home School Coalition and Texas Values, Texans for Vaccine Choice is proud of the overwhelmingly successful outcome of the 85th Session which exceeded both internal and external expectations. Texans for Vaccine Choice is a dynamic organization with a contagious energy that has been noted as “refreshing” by state officials and other powerful political figures. International media has named Texas the epicenter of the vaccine choice movement of the world, and Texans for Vaccine Choice is proud to lead the fight in protecting and advancing informed consent, medical privacy, and vaccine choice.

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