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House Concurs in HPV Bill; Showdown Looms

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The House just concurred in Senate amendments to HB 1098, the bill that prohibits the Commissioner of Health and Human Services from requiring girls entering the sixth grade to receive the vaccine that prevents cervical cancer as a condition of enrollment. The concurrence was agreed to by a margin of (if I heard it correctly) 135-2. Both houses passed it by veto-proof margins. The bill now goes to the governor’s office. Rick Perry has ten days in which to sign or veto it; if he does neither, the bill will become law without his signature. I expect the governor to veto it on principle–he believes the vaccine is the right thing to do–and I expect the Legislature to override the veto. If both events occur, this will be the first override of a gubernatorial veto since 1979, Bill Clements’ first year as governor, when he rejected a bill changing a hunting season in Comal County. I think it was about turkeys. Lawmakers then claimed the right to change game and fish laws in their districts by statute, and Clements believed that that power should belong to Parks and Wildlife. The Legislature won the battle, but Clements won the war.

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