Earlier this afternoon the committee substitute for Senate Bill 188 was taken up for consideration on the Senate floor and passed to engrossment by a vote of 23 yeas and 7 nays. This was the second reading of the bill, and a final vote should occur on Thursday.
Voting with the yeas were Senators Averitt, Carona, Davis, Deuell, Duncan, Ellis, Eltife, Gallegos, Harris, Hegar, Hinojosa, Lucio, Nelson, Nichols, Seliger, Shapleigh, Uresti, Van de Putte, Watson, Wentworth, West, Whitmire and Zaffirini.
Senators voting nay included Estes, Fraser, Huffman, Ogden, Patrick, Shapiro, and Williams. Senator Jackson was absent.
While laying out the bill Senator Deuell said that if this legislation becomes law it will save the state money without costing the state any money, and that countless studies have shown syringe exchange programs do not increase drug use.
Senator Wentworth pointed out that Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed, who blocked full implementation of the pilot syringe exchange program that passed last session, has advised his office that if this bill passes she will not prosecute people participating in the programs.
To watch the Senate consideration and vote on CSSB 188 visit the Senate RealMedia Video Archives page, scroll down and click on the March 18 Senate Session, and skip ahead to 2:07:20 into the video.
The Access Project would also like to take this opportunity to thank Senators Wentworth and Zaffirini, who each represent a portion of Bexar County, for signing on as co-authors of SB 188. Thank you!