On Monday, 23 April, the Texas Senate voted 30-1 in favor of its version of HB1089, a bill overturning Rick Perry’s February executive order mandating that all girls entering the sixth grade receive the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine Gardasil. On Wednesday, 25 April, the Texas House approved the Senate version of the bill by a 135-2 vote. On Thursday, 26 April, the bill was sent to Governor Rick Perry, who has ten days to sign the bill into law, veto the bill, or do neither (which would have the same effect as signing the bill). Even if Perry vetoes the bill, both the House and the Senate have the necessary 2/3 majority votes to override his veto.
For more background on the bill and the vaccine, see here and here. This is pretty much the end of Rick Perry’s executive order, although the new version of HB1089 is slightly more palatable than the version passed in the Texas House on 13 March, because it now goes into effect only for four years. Regardless, this is quite a public health setback as universal vaccination should prevent the vast majority of cases of cervical cancer.
Although this vaccine is about the closest thing to a “cure for cancer” we’ve seen to date, the Texas legislature has passed up a fantastic opportunity by instead bowing to naive conservative interests as well as engaging in a power struggle with the governor.