Close this search box.

A Historic Week for Vaccine Choice in Texas!

As I reflect on last week, the only word I have is HISTORIC.

Over the course of 3 days, TEN bills that TFVC supports were heard in various committees across both chambers. By comparison, in sessions past, we were lucky to get ONE hearing on ONE good bill during the entirety of the five months of Session. Ten good bills in three days? Like I said, HISTORIC.

As if prepping for ten hearings wasn’t enough, months in advance, TFVC had scheduled a Citizen Engagement Day (CED) on the very day that Chairwoman Kolkhorst declared COVID Day in her HHS Committee. So on top of preparing one-pagers and testimonies on all ten bills (some bills requiring multiple testimonies), we also had the extra dose of insanity from preparing for thirty advocates coming to make office visits at the CED.

After we allowed ourselves five minutes of freak out, we did what we are known for: BUCKLED UP AND GOT IT DONE.

After rearranging weekend plans and family needs, our first step was activating our vast network of professionals to come to Wednesday’s HHS hearing as Chairwoman Kolkhorst had requested of us. My first call was to Dr. Robert Malone, who was gracious enough to accept my invitation to lend his expertise to Texas. We also contacted representatives from the airline industry, healthcare profession, military and other fields. With those calls behind us, we knocked out the one-pagers and testimony for Monday’s hearings first: three in the House Public Health Committee and one in the Senate State Affairs Committee. And we also somehow managed to work in a training for our Small Group Leaders for the CED Sunday night!

Michelle and I both started at 7:45am Monday in the Reagan Building where the House Public Health Committee meets. Thankfully, Rep. Swanson’s HB 44 was up first. Soon after her passionate bill layout, Michelle and I were called for testimony. As soon as I gave my testimony, I gathered my things and hauled across the capitol campus to the Senate Chambers just in time to hear State Affairs gavel in. While Michelle stayed in Public Health and expertly handled the HB 81 and HB 1313 hearings, I was present when SB 29 was heard and was able to make an impassioned plea to end government COVID mandates. You can read more about that hearing here.

TFVC wants to give a HUGE shout out to Rep. Brian Harrison who never wavered in his determination and poise when laying out HB 81 in Public Health. Despite a somewhat hostile committee, he never backed down and made the case for his bill with the zeal we’ve come to expect from him. 

And we want to give credit to Representative Dustin Burrows, author of HB 1313, for agreeing to craft committee substitutes to strengthen the bill and make the subsequent study’s results much more reliable.

With those hearings behind us, we huddled up and got to work finishing up the preparations for Wednesday. Reminder – that meant not just COVID day in HHS with six TFVC support bills, but also a Citizen Engagement Day with thirty advocates traveling to Austin from across the state. Our prayers that the Lord would multiply our time were answered and by the grace of God, we had all of the committee one-pagers, testimonies, and CED one-pagers written, formatted, printed and organized by 6pm Tuesday… Just in time for Michelle to head to Lee County for a speaking engagement!

Wednesday morning arrived and we were as ready as you can be for the unforeseeable last-minute changes that are commonplace at the Capitol. Our plan was simple enough: Carrie Bigford, our Outreach Director, and I would tackle the CED and Michelle and Stephanie, our Austin Outreach Coordinator, would handle getting advocates registered for the bills. Sounds easy, right? WRONG!

The first hurdle was parking. It was an abnormally busy day at the capitol so the main parking garage was full by 9am, causing our advocates to have to pivot even before they had started their day. (And don’t get me started on the heavy humidity that day that made navigating the Austin streets nearly unbearable.) After getting our CED advocates trained and dispersed for their office visits, I met up with Michelle who had been sending me live updates from the Senate Chamber all morning. 

Shortly after meeting up with her, I received notice that Dr. Malone had arrived so we quickly made our way to meet him in the Senate Gallery and texted the rest of our invited professionals to join us as we waited for the HHS Committee to gavel in after the Senate finished their floor activity. Filling several rows of chairs, we were already making a statement. 

Thankfully, the Senate finished their floor business efficiently, and we made our way into the Senate Chamber where the HHS Committee meets. Our team took up nearly the entire left side of seats! Once the bills started being called, we were off to the races! 

One bill after another, Team TFVC ran the table! The bills being heard tackled many of the issues that arose during the COVID response in Texas – from access to alternative treatments to establishing a statewide Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) program to prohibiting mandates to one big, beautiful omnibus bill that is a vaccine choice advocate’s dream, we were there to support each bill author and provide unique testimony. With so many fields and professionals represented, the committee members heard several hours of vaccine safety truth being placed on the official public record in Texas!

Keep in mind that all ten bills are still “pending” which means that the committee has not yet voted on them. Those committee votes are the next big step before a bill can even be considered for a vote on the floor. There’s still a long way to go, but those hearings were CRUCIAL in getting us closer to passing strong vaccine choice laws.

We were thrilled and blessed to work with so many experts providing testimony: Dr. Malone, Dr. Ardis, Dr. Gamboa, Dr. Fleming, Dr. Nanda, Dr. Farella and the fearless Jennifer Bridges were the most humble and sacrificial team of medical professionals ever assembled. 

We are only seeing great progress this year because YOU have made your voice heardYOU have traveled to the capitol, YOU have called your elected officials, and YOU have stood with TFVC for eight years. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! On behalf of the entire team here at TFVC, I am more hopeful and ready to lock arms with you all these last two months of Session to get these bills over the finish line and into law!

6 thoughts on “A Historic Week for Vaccine Choice in Texas!”

  1. Hi all, thanks for the good work.
    I got my kids exemption done, thanks to the resource here.
    However, we are having difficulty finding a pediatrician who accepts unvaccinated kids (North Dallas, Plano/Allen/Frisco).
    Does anyone have a recommendation on how to find a pediatrician with an understanding in unvaccinated kids? Thanks a lot!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top