And you thought the Legislature didn't do anything important...
Tue March 3, 2009 11:28 pm

So there I was, minding my own business in the Senate Chamber, about to nod off during a fairly routine meeting of Senate Health and Human Services when Sen. Jane Nelson uttered a phrase that made me snap to attention: "Truckload of severed heads...that were found on a Texas highway with no documentation."

Well, thank heavens Nelson is all over this problem. SB 284 would require a chain of command and special packaging with proper labeling of all body parts being transported for use in medical research. Problem solved! Next time there's a truckload of severed heads found on a Texas highway, they will all be properly labeled.

This is apparently a serious problem, requiring strict government regulation to keep an eye on nefarious characters who are somehow drawn to the business of selling dead bodies. Jim Bates of the Texas Funeral Consumers Alliance testified that "quite a few abuses" have occurred in the body part delivery business, causing families to become "distrustful,"  which in turn has led to "a short supply of body parts."

Bates informed the somewhat startled senators that, at the beginning of the committee meeting, he looked around the room and  "just counting the people in the chamber, there were about $20 million worth of body parts here. We're worth a lot more dead than alive."

And in case someone in the room wasn't paying attention by then, Bates elaborated on his point: A a single human body is worth $100,000, which, unfortunately, made "a lot of shady characters want to get in the business."

But SB 284 will require appropriate packaging and labeling (along with some oversight by the Health and Human Services Commission), to ensure that, when the "body parts end up on the truck with all the other medical supplies," they will be "treated with the utmost respect when they are out there in the realm of commerce."

The committee members were sold: SB 284 passed from committee unanimously. Who said an activist government can't make life better for everyone?

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