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Summary: HB 772 strives to make Texas’ immunization registry more efficient and communicable to other states by requiring Texans to actively opt out of the system and making it easier for Texas to accumulate data and share that data with other states. Current law requires individuals to provide consent, or opt in, for their immunization record to be included in Texas' electronic immunization registry. HB 772 would make Texas’ immunization registry an opt-out system by requiring an individual or an individual’s legally authorized representative to actively request that their information be removed. HB 772 requires individuals to request their records be removed upon their 18th birthday, instead of removing an individual’s information automatically unless they request otherwise. HB 772 would allow the department to receive individual immunization records from other states whose individuals move to Texas in a disaster, and would allow the executive commissioner of Health and Human Services Commission to release information indefinitely to another state, striking language that stipulated how long another state may retain the immunization records of Texans.
HB 772 states that the Department of State Health Services (department) may not sell immunization record information to any public or private entity. The department may only release registry information for external public health use if an individual submits written authorization to the department, the department does not disclose individually identifiable information, or the department’s institutional review board to obtain informed consent from individuals to have their registry information shared.
Analysis: HB 772 attempts to address a public health concern, but it does so by expanding the burden of government on Texans. HB 772 requires Texans to take proactive action to remove their information from Texas’ immunization registry. Making the registry “opt out” instead of “opt in” expands the scope of government and limits the individual liberty of Texans to share immunization information only if they choose to do so. For these reasons we oppose HB 772