Texas House votes to largely prohibit mandatory vaccines for children put in temporary Child Protective Services care

In what was expected to be a discussion of a largely bipartisan-supported bill that proposes improvements for the state's Child Protective Services agency, the merits of vaccines were hotly debated Wednesday afternoon.

One of the solutions proposed in the bill, authored by state Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, would require the Department of Family and Protective Services to administer a medical and mental examination for children in CPS custody for more than three days. These children would have likely been taken out of the custody of parents for safety concerns.

The guidelines for these examinations would be set by the Health and Human Services Commission and medical practitioners, should the bill be passed.

But other lawmakers wanted to give their input as well.

State Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, proposed an amendment that would preclude physicians from administering vaccines in these examinations. Supporters of this amendment argued that when a child is in temporary custody, there are plenty of unknowns, including what the parent's choice would be and the child's medical history.

State Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place, attempted to negate Zedler's amendment by adding some key changes. One change featured language that would permit vaccines as long as those vaccines prevented cancer.

She argued this would empower doctors to make the right decisions for the child's health care, leading to a skirmish with state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano. Leach argued the act of empowering one "disempowers" another.

"It is my belief that your amendment would rip that decision from the parents and give it to the doctors," Leach said.

Davis said allowing doctors to vaccinate children simply allowed them to practice medicine. She said it would be immoral for the state House to vote against allowing vaccines that could prevent cancer.

"I want to know who in this body does not believe in the science of vaccines," Davis said.

The amendment was defeated in a 74-64 vote, showing Davis who among her fellow legislators would be supportive of vaccinations.

Notably, state Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, and state Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood, both doctors, were among those voting against the amendment to allow vaccinations.

Wu, in an attempt to neutralize Zedler's amendment, worked to draft more friendly language that wouldn't derail his bill.

The new amendment would allow vaccinations in the case of tetanus and if CPS has been named the managing conservator of a child, a situation that Wu said often occurs after 14 days of state-led care.

Zedler's amendment, as changed by Wu, was eventually tacked onto the CPS bill in a 74-58 vote.

Another physician, state Rep. J.D. Sheffield, R-Gatesville, spoke out against the amendment before it passed, asking to have the vaccine debate on a different day.

"This discussion about vaccinations should be a separate, standalone bill, on a separate, different day," Sheffield said.

The overall bill tentatively passed the House in a 120-15 vote. The final vote will likely be taken Thursday.
SHARE THIS STORY


MOST RECENT

FBISD trustees approved the 2020-21 calendar at the Jan. 21 meeting. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Key dates to know: Fort Bend ISD approves 2020-21 school calendar

The calendar was created with input from students, staff, teachers, principals, parents, the school board and community members.

Red Bluff Road widening underway

About 1.5 miles of Red Bluff Road between Hwy. 146 and Kirby Boulevard will be widened from three lanes to five.

Katy ISD
Katy ISD school board OKs staff changes, construction contracts

Creech Elementary School has a new principal, while four campuses will receive new flooring.

African American Library at thet Gregory School
Houston’s historic African American Library receives funding boost for Harvey repairs

The library is located in Houston's first public school for African Americans.

Photo courtesy Russo's.
Russo's New York Pizzeria celebrates 10 years in The Woodlands

Russo's New York Pizzeria is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Arby’s opened a new location at 21310 Kuykendahl Road, Spring, in December. (Courtesy Arby's)
Arby's opens new location on Kuykendahl Road in Spring

The eatery is known for its roast beef sandwiches, curly fries and fruit turnovers.

Harris County Flood Control District plans work on bond projects in 2020 along Cypress-area creeks

After closing out the biggest spending year in its history, the Harris County Flood Control District has no plans of slowing down in 2020 as it continues to execute 237 flood bond projects at once.

The crawfish seller has no storefront but offers pickups in Conroe. (Courtesy 3C's Crawfish)
3C's Crawfish now open in Conroe

The business sells crawfish from Louisiana.

Two Lakes Edge's residential and retail spaces are expected to open at Hughes Landing in The Woodlands this spring. (Courtesy The Howard Hughes Corp.)
Fitness studios StretchLab, Row House will launch at Two Lakes Edge in Hughes Landing this spring

The Howard Hughes Corp. announced the businesses would occupy ground-floor retail space at the new 386-unit complex.

The spa held a soft opening Jan. 10. (Courtesy Southern Secrets Med Spa)
Southern Secrets Med Spa now open in Conroe

The spa offers various aesthetic and functional medicine procedures, in addition to men's and women's sexual wellness.

(Jen Para/Community Impact Newspaper)
Katy ISD receives financial audit, begins 2020-21 budget

The district's property tax rate could decrease about a cent for tax year 2020.

Sahana Gade, a sixth-grade Fort Bend ISD student, appeared on season 8 of "Kids Baking Championship." (Courtesy Sudhaa Gade/Food Network Channel)
Fort Bend ISD student Sahana Gade competes on season 8 of 'Kids Baking Championship'

“My time on the show was a very wonderful time,” Gade said during the Jan. 21 Sugar Land City Council meeting.

Back to top