Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Legislative briefing revealed strong bipartisan support for change

Scot Kibbe, Senator Deuell's Legislative Director, spoke about SB 188. Senator Deuell filed the bill because he is compelled as a doctor to save lives, as a conservative to keep the government from getting in the way, and as a Christian to believe in the ability of people to change. Since the Senator has been championing clean and safe syringe access, he hasn't had one negative response from a constituent.

Janis Reinken, Representative McClendon's Chief of Staff, spoke about HB 142. She provided an update on the Bexar County pilot program authorized by the legislature last session but forbidden by District Attorney Susan Reed. Bexar County Commissioners unanimously authorized funding for the program but before they could implement the program, the District Attorney began prosecuting people and the syringe exchange portion of the program was cancelled. Both sides agree that they will look to the Texas legislature to clarify the law this session.

Will Krueger, from the Office of Representative Ortiz, spoke about HB 272 and the Representative's strong interest in treatment and recovery. His constituents want safe and legal syringe access programs, and Representative Ortiz wants to ensure the programs are offered in Spanish so each program can be as effective as possible within it's community.

Comprehensive legislative information packets were distributed to staff and agency representatives who attended. A fun time was had by all.

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