Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
Summary: SB 495 would create the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force to be administered by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The task force would study and recommend how to reduce pregnancy related deaths and maternal morbidity in Texas. The task force will expire in 2019, unless it is prolonged by the Sunset Advisory Committee, and DSHS is required to apply for and use any available federal money to fund the task force.
Analysis: SB 495’s requirement for DSHS to apply and use federal money to fund the task force is problematic. Although the task force would not be funded by tax dollars taken by Texas government, it would be funded by Federal Government funds that are comprised of tax dollars taken from all fifty states, including Texas. Federal funds are not “free,” and any requirement for DSHS to fund this task force with federal funds represents an expansion of government.
Amendment Recommendation: It is our understanding that Sen. Huffman and Rep. Walle have agreed to amend the legislation to strike language referring to the use of federal funds to implement this task force. Such an amendment would mean the task force would be funded with existing resources. With the adoption of such an amendment we would be neutral SB 495.
Update: With the adoption of the above mentioned amendment, we are neutral on this legislation.