February 19, 2014Senator Kirk Watson, Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, released the following statement Wednesday regarding the Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing on women’s health issues in Texas: We’re encouraged by Chairwoman Nelson’s pledge to have “a thorough discussion of every aspect” of the state’s efforts to provide healthcare to Texas women. We hope she’ll pursue it, even if the Lieutenant Governor didn’t specify that thorough discussion in the interim charge that’s on the committee’s agenda. The interim charge (quoted in full on the agenda for tomorrow’s committee hearing) frames this interim study – apparently without irony – as an effort to “build on previous legislative achievements in women’s healthcare.” This after a summer in which those in control of the Texas Senate sought to insulate themselves from the effects of anti-women legislation by pledging to hold hearings during the legislative interim that would take an open and honest look at women’s health issues in this state.In July, the Senate Democratic Caucus requested interim studies to take a much more comprehensive look at women’s health. Our language was not reflected in the Lieutenant Governor’s interim charge.
Now, Texans must hope the Health and Human Services Committee will go outside the strict bounds of the interim charge to have the honest, transparent and comprehensive discussion that Texas women deserve. Those in control of the state shouldn’t be afraid to simply talk – honestly and transparently – about the effects of their actions.