As the 2nd Called Session of the 83rd Texas Legislature comes to a close, Capitol observers continue to review the actions of our lawmakers, including the legislative accomplishments of Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound.
“It’s hard to believe that only two months have passed since we ended what — at the time — was being referred to as the ‘kumbaya’ session,” Senator Nelson said. “It’s important that, as the dust settles on the second special session, we take a look back at what we were able to accomplish for the people of Texas. We passed a responsible budget that prioritizes education and invests in women’s health, mental health and protections for neglected and abused children. We continued the policies of fiscal discipline that have made the Texas economy the envy of the nation and will keep growing jobs and opportunities for the people of our state.”
By the numbers, Senator Nelson authored 40 bills that were passed into law by the Legislature, and she served as the Senate sponsor on 30 successful bills authored by House members. She served on 19 conference committees, including for SB 1, the appropriations bill. Senator Nelson chaired the Article II workgroup, which increased the women’s health budget by $100 million and made significant new investments in mental health and Child Protective Services.
Senator Nelson has received several awards and accolades for her work during the 2013 session including from the Women’s Health Coalition, Texas Academy of Family Physicians, Texas Nurse Practitioners, Texas CASA, Alliance for Life and the Texas Licensed Child Care Association. She also received a Top 10 Power Ranking from Capitol Inside, which noted, “State Senator Jane Nelson has become one of the world’s most accomplished jugglers as a conservative Republican who’s been responsible for the well-being of poor adults and children as the chair of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee for the past 10 years.”.
The highest ranking Republican in the Senate, Senator Nelson is the longest-serving chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in Texas history and serves on the Finance Committee; the Nominations Committee; and the Committee on Open Government. Following are some of the bills by Senator Nelson that were approved by the Legislature this session:
· SB 7 improves Medicaid long-term care and extends services to 12,000 individuals with disabilities currently waiting for them.
· SB 8 cracks down on the epidemic level of fraud and abuse in the Medicaid system.
· SB 58 improves coordination of mental health services for Medicaid clients.
· SB 59 eliminates redundant and obsolete reporting requirements for our state agencies.
· SB 60 allows parents to create credit files for their children and then freeze them in order to protect young Texans from identity theft.
· SB 61 creates a special medical license for military physicians who wish to provide charitable care.
· SB 64 directs day cares to establish policies to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases.
· SB 66 strengthens our efforts to prevent child fatalities in Texas.
· SB 67 creates a process to report stem cell research activity at our universities.
· SB 126 allows the public to compare outcomes being achieved by our mental health and substance abuse providers.
· SB 127 requires that funding to public health services be based on local needs.
· SB 129 allows domestic violence victims to seek protective orders in the county where the abuse occurred, in addition to the victims’ home counties.
· SB 130 resolves a potential conflict of interest for prosecutors to assist victims with protective orders.
· SB 149 restores accountability, improves oversight, and restructures governance at the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas.
· SB 152 overhauls our efforts to protect patients in our state mental health hospitals.
· SB 143, amended onto HB 2550, increases residency slots and graduate medical education to grow our health care workforce.
· SB 406 increases access to healthcare by making it easier for doctors, physician assistants and advanced practice nurses to work together.
· SB 423 creates an alternate response system for low-risk CPS cases to promote collaboration with families and ensure the protection of children.
· SB 425 requires consultation among CASA volunteers, guardians ad litem and attorneys ad litem in CPS placement decisions.
· SB 426 ensures that the state is investing in evidence-based home visitation programs to protect children.
· SB 427 strengthens background checks for individuals with access to children in the CPS system.
· SB 428 removes barriers to mentoring services for children in CPS programs.
· SB 743 creates an offense for continuous violation of protective orders — an indicator of heightened risk to domestic violence victims.
· SB 944 requires criminal background checks for those providing direct care to psychiatric patients in Texas hospitals.
· SB 945 requires health care providers in hospitals to wear name badges that indicate their level of training.
· SB 946 expands protections provided by SB 1186 (Nelson 79R) by allowing victims of stalking; attempted assault or abuse; indecency with a child; and sexual performance with a child to terminate their lease agreements under certain circumstances.
· SB 948 promotes public transportation by enhancing the authority of the Denton County Transportation Authority.
· SB 949 better protects the privacy of Texas physicians.
· SCR 1 creates water safety month in April to promote safety on Texas waterways.
· HB 915 promotes responsible use of psychotropic medication among foster children.
· HB 15 strengthens the standards of care of hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs)in Texas.
· HB 2536 gives Grapevine a seat on The T public transportation board.
· HB 3401 promotes nutrition among recipients of foods stamps, welfare, and other forms of public assistance.
Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, represents District 12, including portions of Denton and Tarrant counties. She is chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.