The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Texas 87th Legislative Session Updates

Written by
Joel Romo
Posted in

Thursday, Apr 01, 2021

Senate Health & Human Services Committee members consider Sen. Nelson’s AED legislation

The Cooper Institute continues to actively engage with lawmakers regarding key policies that will help enhance the health and wellness of Texans.

The Texas 87th Regular Session has less than 60 days remaining

The regular legislative session will adjourn May 31 and many of The Cooper Institute’s key policy priorities such as funding that ensures each 3-12th grade student receives a quality physical fitness assessment remains as part of state budget discussions. There are a handful of key policies that our team has been actively engaged with this session including:

SB 199 by Sen. Jane Nelson — Awaiting consideration by the full Senate. 
(The Cooper Institute submitted a card of support)

In 1999 and 2001 the legislature passed legislation that shields from liability laypersons who use automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at the scene of an emergency. This led to widespread usage at gyms, malls, airports, state buildings, and other businesses, saving countless lives. Advancement in AED technology makes the devices extremely easy to use, and in many instances, the rescuer is not an employee but a customer or bystander. S.B. 199 extends current liability protections regarding AED usage to businesses and property owners. The bill also repeals burdensome training requirements to better align training with current AED technology. 

HB 786 by Rep. Tom Oliverson Awaiting consideration by the Texas House of Representatives. (The Cooper Institute submitted a card of support)

There are concerns about the low rate of survival for people who experience sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting. Evidence indicates that early administration of CPR has a positive impact on a patient's chance of survival. When a person dials 9-1-1, they are in communication with a dispatcher who then directs paramedics to arrive at the scene. It has been suggested that if 9-1-1 dispatchers and other licensed telecommunicators received CPR training, they would be able to coach the caller through administering CPR while the paramedics are en route, thus giving the patient a better chance of recovery. H.B. 786 seeks to require telecommunicators to receive this training as part of their initial licensure training and on an ongoing basis as part of their continuing education.

SB 442 by Sen. Bryan Hughes and SB 347 by Sen. Angela Paxton
School Health Advisory Councils

Both of these proposals would amend current law relating to school health advisory councils and require them to post minutes on the district’s website and define them as governmental bodies which would subject them, (SHAC members who are parents and community volunteers) to open records request that would discourage participation.

The Cooper Institute along with the Partnership for a Healthy Texas Coalition submitted a letter “on” these two bills asking that SHAC’s be removed from these provisions, which would discourage parents and volunteers from participating in these meaningful conversations and committee work.  Both proposals have yet to be voted out of committee. 

SB 248 by Sen. Nathan Johnson Passed the Texas Senate and now moves to House of Representatives. 
(The Cooper Institute submitted a card of support and is part of the Texas Tobacco Control Partners Coalition).

Surveys indicate minors are able to easily obtain e-cigarettes through brick-and-mortar retailers despite the new legal purchase age in 2019, 27.5 percent of high school students and 10.5 percent of middle school students reported current e-cigarette use. In addition to developing a harmful addiction, minors using e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke cigarettes later in life and may be exposed to potentially fatal diseases such as E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use Associated Lung Injury (EVALI). Under S.B. 248, e-cigarette retailers are required to obtain a similar permit to traditional tobacco retailers.  SB 248 also adds e-cigarettes to laws limiting tobacco advertising.

Our Governmental Affairs team looks forward to continue to provide updates on recess, physical education and health proposals over the coming days. We encourage you to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for breaking news on these and other health and wellness policies being considered by the 87th Regular Session.