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Oppose HB 1921 in the Senate Unless Amended to Restore 3 Areas of Parental and Medical Privacy Rights (5/13)

IMMUNIZATION REGISTRY BILL UNFORTUNATELY ADVANCING IN SENATE

LETTERS NEEDED TO YOUR STATE SENATOR TO OPPOSE HB 1921 UNLESS AMENDED TO RESTORE PARENTAL AND MEDICAL PRIVACY RIGHTS GUARANTEED IN CURRENT LAW

Dear PROVE Members,

While all the calls and letters to the House of Representatives unfortunately were not enough to kill the intrusive vaccine tracking bill HB 1921, they have made a significant impact in favor of parental rights on the final version passed out of the House this past week.

However, these changes were no where near enough to protect parental and medical privacy rights consistent with the current statute. We need to quickly urge the senate to oppose HB 1921 unless it is amended to correct the following 3 major problems:

PROBLEM 1: HB 1921 allows TDH to collect every child's record in the state from the child's doctor and insurance company without parental consent while the current law requires parental consent before TDH obtains any immunization information on the child. [See HB 1921 SECTION 4. amending subsection (c) of Section 161.008 of the Health and Safety Code]

PROBLEM 2: HB 1921 requires doctors and insurance companies to dump every child's private immunization record to TDH without parental consent while current law requires consent before the child's record is released. Current technology makes it simple for data to be sorted where only consented records are released to TDH. There is no reason for a data dump of everybody's records. [See HB 1921 SECTION 2. amending subsections (c) and (d) of Sections 161.007 of the Health and Safety Code]

PROBLEM 3: HB 1921 allows TDH to retain non-individually identifiable information about any child and his/her doctor even if TDH does not have consent for that child to be in the registry while current law only allows TDH to track information on children whose parents have consented to the registry. This could still lead to harassment and discrimination of communities of children unvaccinated with certain vaccines by choice. [See HB 1921 SECTION 2. amending subsections (b), (c) and (d) of Section 161.007 of the Health and Safety Code, SECTION 3. amending Chapter 161 of the Health and Safety Code by adding Sections 161.0071 (b), and SECTION 4. amending subsection (c) of Section 161.008 of the Health and Safety Code]

ASAP PLEASE FAX, MAIL, or EMAIL your state senator a letter asking him/her to OPPOSE HB 1921 unless it is amended to address 3 basic remaining problems with the bill that gut parental and medical privacy rights guaranteed in current law and list the problems.

FEEL FREE TO USE OUR SAMPLE LETTER which articulates these arguments and lists the specific area of the bill with the problem. You can cut and paste it into your own note. It is posted at
http://www.vaccineinfo.net/alerts/Senate_Letter_HB1921.shtml

1) Fax a Letter to your Senator through the Senate Fax Line at 512) 463-0326 (or direct office faxes can be found on your Senator's Web Site)
2) Mail letter to your Senator (see sample letter for address) or
3) Email Your Senator (see their web page for email instructions)

You can look up your senator and their contact information by linking to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/fyi/fyi.htm

Then link to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us  and click on Senate Members. Contact fax and email forms can be found on your Senator's web site by selecting the option to link to your Senator's Web Site.

If the bill is set for a hearing and these problems are not corrected, please be ready to come to Austin and give personal testimony opposing it. We'll keep you posted.

Please pass this on to family and friends who have been following this fight and care about parental and medical privacy rights. With just a couple of weeks left to session, we can do this so hang in there!

Thank you.

Dawn Richardson, President
PROVE

_______________________________

Oppose: CSHB 1921!  Big Brother Watching You with Vaccine Surveillance System

5/7 Time to stop bill in the House of Representatives!

VIEW DATA FLOW DIAGRAMS EXPLAINING CURRENT LAW AND WHAT CSHB 1921 DOES BY CLICKING HERE

We are in the home stretch to stop the bill, CSHB 1921, that would change the current immunization registry law to mandate the release of EVERY child's medical immunization record to the Texas Department of Health Database without and against a parent's consent. If we can stop it from being heard on the House Floor, and stop it from getting a hearing in the Senate next week, we are in great shape since the session is winding down to a close.

We need EVERYONE's CALLS AND LETTERS NOW and for the rest of this week! Please don't sit on the sidelines - we need to pull together. The newest development is that Representative Capelo is misleading legislators by telling them his recent changes in the committee substitute still is an opt-in registry. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Being a retired computer design engineer, I thought a simple data flow diagram showing side by side what happens in current law vs. what CSHB 1921 proposes would make the problems with CSHB 1921 crystal clear. If you would like to view that diagram, please link to http://www.vaccineinfo.net/alerts/Oppose_CSHB_1921_chart.pdf

CSHB 1921 is nothing like the current law which requires consent in the doctor's office. Under the current law those who don't want to participate don't have to do anything. Only consented records go to TDH. That is opt-in. Under CSHB 1921, a parent STILL HAS TO OPT OUT at the department level after their child's records are already sent to TDH and there is nothing a parent can do to stop their doctors or insurance company from releasing their child's private record to TDH. This will amount to repeated harassment.

Here is a simple comparison of the current law with the changes Representative Capelo trying to make in CSHB 1921:

CONSENT: CURRENT LAW - Simple and efficient handling of data flow and consent CSHB 1921 - Complex, inefficient, and error-prone handling of consent and records

RELEASE OF RECORDS: CURRENT LAW - Only consented data released from doctor or insurance company CSHB 1921 - Mandates release of all private records to state regardless of consent

PRIVACY: CURRENT LAW - Consistent with tradition of decades of medical privacy protections requiring consent before doctors release private medical records CSHB 1921 - Violates medical privacy by catapulting Texas into an era where state government controls private medical records with the Texas Department of Health (TDH) as the gatekeeper

TRACKING AND HARASSMENT FACTOR: CURRENT LAW - No recording or harassment of families not wanting to participate CSHB 1921 - Repeated harassing opt-out notices to parents and providers, and Bureau of Vital Statistics tracks non-consenters

It is obvious that the current law is far superior to CSHB 1921 and that Representative Capelo will say anything he has to in order to get his bill passed - even by changing a few words in his bill and then inaccurately calling it opt-in. True Opt-in is what we currently have and that is nothing like this bill. CSHB 1921 is just a ruse to try and trick well-meaning legislators into handing over every kid's record to TDH by making them think they are still honoring opt-in.

I know this is a lot of work, BUT OUR EFFORTS ARE ACHIEVING SUCCESS. Remember, we got this language out of SB 342, and this past week it was removed from HB 1016. SB 39 and HB 1556 have not even gotten a hearing. CSHB 1921 is all that is really left out of the 5 horrible registry bills, so PLEASE HELP US STOP IT BY CALLING, FAXING AND EMAILING ALL THIS WEEK (even if you did it last week)Time is on our side and it will run out if we can keep the pressure up!

Thank you!

URGENT TEXAS ALERT: CALLS AND LETTERS NEEDED IMMEIDATELY

Help Protect Your Minor Child From Draconian, Dangerous Big Brother Government Surveillance Bill CSHB 1921 in Texas House of Representatives

Please IMMEDIATELY contact the speaker, governor, House Calendars Committee, and your own Representative and Senator to OPPOSE CSHB 1921. The details are below.

WARNING: CSHB 1921, if passed, would gut parental, medical privacy, and informed consent provisions in the current law by requiring that all doctors and insurance companies release EVERY child's private immunization record, WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT AND AGAINST A PARENT'S WILL, to the Texas Department of Health to be permanently tagged and tracked in a immunization surveillance database. If parents wanted the Health Department to track their child, they would have given their doctor required permission to release their child's record under the current law.

CSHB 1921, by Representative Capelo, incorrectly assumes parents and their child's doctors are too stupid and irresponsible to keep track of children's records and that they need and want the Texas Department of Health to do it for them.

State vaccine tracking registries being promoted in the name of protecting the public health are simply a smokescreen for the creation of yet another big brother government-operated system that will further invade our privacy, take away endangered liberties, and move us toward government controlled medical records and medicine.

Representative Capelo is claiming that his recent committee substitute is still an OPT-IN registry like the current law, but that is dangerously deceptive. Under his scheme in CSHB 1921, there is no way you can stop your minor child's records released to the department: it is a FORCED RELEASE that you cannot stop. The bill even allows TDH to keep your child's information in a "de-identified" format and would also permit unconsented records to be used by insurance companies to punish parents and providers who didn't give a child every single dose of every single vaccine. This is a huge step backwards from the current law that requires a doctor or an insurance company to obtain written informed consent before a minor child's record can be released from their office. This bill has to be stopped.

Additionally, because Federal Medical Privacy Regulations for HIPAA permit public health disclosures without consent in the absence of a stricter state law requiring consent for the release of records, the language in CSHB 1921, if passed, would pave the way for intrusive data grabs from other local, state, or federal vaccine tracking systems. The threat that these registries pose is real: computerized databases operated by the government for the purpose of tagging and tracking every child have been and increasingly will be used to punish citizens for disagreement and non-compliance with government dictated health care or other policies.

The flaw in this plan is that governments don't raise children - parents do, and our ability to protect our children from bureaucratic and industry influence and control needs to be fiercely protected. This bill is not about immunizations - it is a direct attack on the family, parental and informed consent rights, medical privacy, and a move towards government controlled medicine.

SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS IN OPPOSITION TO CSHB 1921

* CSHB 1921 is a HUGE step backwards for parental, medical privacy, and informed consent rights. I don't want or need ANY government assistance keeping track of my child's medical immunization record and I resent the implication that I am too stupid and irresponsible to handle this. Please vote against CSHB 1921.

* The current vaccine registry law correctly requires my doctor and insurance company to have my consent before releasing my child's record to the Health Department or anybody else.

* CSHB 1921 would undo these protections by requiring doctors and insurance companies to do massive data dumps of currently protected information forcing the release of my minor child's record to TDH without parental consent, and in my case, against my will. I am strongly opposed to this.

* As the parent of MY child, it should be MY responsibility and MY responsibility alone to determine who gets to see my child's medical record.

* The OPT-IN provision in this bill is a scam because my child's records and personal identifying information would be sent to the Texas Department of Health against my will.

* This bill set up a confrontational big brother like monitoring system subjecting parents and doctors to scrutiny for vaccine compliance and potential sanctions by insurance companies and other unforeseen abuses.

* If I trusted TDH to have any of this information on my child, I would have given consent for the release of my child's record under the current law to begin with. TDH has a history of blatant disregard for parental, medical privacy, and informed consent rights under the current law. Millions of children were found to have been entered illegally without the parental consent required and some parents who have found their children entered without consent have tried unsuccessfully to have their child removed.

* I do not want to have my child's medical details released to persons I do not know, for purposes I cannot predict, which may be contrary to my child's best interests.

* Not all vaccines are safe, effective, or necessary for all children.

* Doctors, insurance companies, and TDH should have to continue to operate under the current law and obtain my permission in order to release any portion of my minor child's confidential medical record and to enter it into a government database. If you let them rationalize releasing a minor child's medical record for this without parental consent, what and who will be next?

PLEASE IMMEDIATELY CONTACT

1) SPEAKER TOM CRADDICK AND STAFF (512) 463-1000, FAX (512) 463-7722 tom.craddick@speaker.state.tx.us, rebecca.young@speaker.state.tx.us, nancy.fisher@speaker.state.tx.us, chas.semple@speaker.state.tx.us, Don.Green@speaker.state.tx.us,

2) GOVERNOR RICK PERRY AND STAFF (512) 463-2000, FAX (512) 463-1849 Email Governor Perry - Link to http://www.governor.state.tx.us/contact and enter your note. Also send to staffers: hlopez-cepero@governor.state.tx.us, mtoomey@governor.state.tx.us, WRoberts@governor.state.tx.us, PShipton@governor.state.tx.us, MMorrissey@governor.state.tx.us

3) HOUSE CALENDARS COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND CLERK
Rep. Beverly Woolley, Chair - (512) 463-0696, FAX (512) 463-9333
Rep. Wayne Christian (512) 463-0556, FAX (512) 463-3102
Rep. Vilma Luna (512) 463-0484, FAX (512) 463-8090
Rep. Jose Menendez (512) 463-0634, FAX (512) 463-7668
Rep. Gene Seaman (512) 463-0672, FAX (512) 463-3509
Rep. Barry Telford (512) 463-0692, FAX (512) 463-8155
Rep. Sylvester Turner (512) 463-0554, FAX (512) 463-8380
Rep. Vicki Truitt (512) 463-0690, FAX (512) 477-5770
Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth, V-Chair (512) 463-0538, FAX (512) 463-6551
Rep. Suzanna Gratia Hupp (512) 463-0684, FAX (512) 482-8284
Rep. Jerry Madden (512) 463-0544, FAX (512) 463-9974
Copy Calendars Clerk Tessa Zavala FAX (512) 463-5896
General House of Representatives Fax if any of the above are turned off or temporarily not working - (512) 463-5896
Beverly.Woolley@house.state.tx.us, Arlene.Wohlgemuth@house.state.tx.us, Wayne.Christian@house.state.tx.us, Suzanna.hupp@house.state.tx.us, Vilma.Luna@house.state.tx.us, Jerry.Madden@house.state.tx.us, Jose.Menendez@house.state.tx.us, Gene.Seaman@house.state.tx.us, Barry.Telford@house.state.tx.us, vicki.truitt@house.state.tx.us, Sylvester.Turner@house.state.tx.us, Tessa.zavala_hc@house.state.tx.us

4) YOUR OWN REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATOR To see who represents you, link to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/fyi/fyi.htm. Then link to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us and click on House Members and Senate Members. Contact phone and email forms can be found on your Representative's and Senator's web sites.

SUGGESTED FORMAT FOR EMAILS AND FAXES

[YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS] [DATE]

The Honorable [REPRESENTATIVE'S NAME] Box 2910 Austin, TX 78768-2910 Or The Honorable [SENATOR'S NAME] Box 12068 Austin, TX 78711-2068

Dear [LEGISLATOR'S NAME],

Please OPPOSE CSHB 1921 by Representative Capelo.

[PERSONALIZED BODY - THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO IS KEEP THE TOTAL LETTER LENGTH TO ONE PAGE OR LESS. CUSTOMIZE SOME OF THE TALKING POINTS INCLUDED ABOVE INTO YOUR OWN WORDS.]

Sincerely, [YOUR NAME AND CREDENTIALS]

If you would like to read the bill for yourself, you can link to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us and enter HB 1921 and click on the bill text selections for the most recent version.

Thank you.

Sincerely, Dawn Richardson, President PROVE

OLD ALERT on HB 1921

3/26 TIME CHANGE UPDATE #2 Be outside Hearing Room E2.036 at 6:30 p.m, not 5:30 as posted yesterday. Hearing on Wednesday 3/26 will be split up with the second half being after the House adjourns which will be sometime around 7:00 p.m.  This bill will be heard then.

ALERT TEXAS: MORE BIG BROTHER WATCHING YOU IN HB 1921
Oppose HB 1921: EVERY CHILD TRACKED AND REGISTERED BY GOVERNMENT

ATTENTION: House Public Health Public Hearing on Wednesday 3/26 at 8:00 a.m. in E2.036 Capitol Extension

* Calls, Faxes and emails needed from Sunday 3/23 through Wednesday early Morning 3/26 to oppose HB 1921

* Testimony needed in Austin at Public Hearing on Wednesday 3/26

Dear PROVE members,

ANOTHER BILL, HB 1921, WITH OFFENSIVE AND INTRUSIVE VACCINE SURVEILLANCE TRACKING SYSTEM AND GOVERNMENT REGISTRATION LANGUAGE NEEDS TO BE OPPOSED BEFORE THIS WEDNESDAY 3/26

A couple of days ago, we sent out an alert to urge you to contact the Senate State Affairs Committee and your State Senator to oppose SB 342 which is scheduled for a hearing on this Monday, March 24, 2003. (See http://www.vaccineinfo.net/alerts/oppose_sb342.shtml)

HB 1921, WITH THE SAME OFFENSIVE AND INTRUSIVE IMMUNIZATION REGISTRY LANGUAGE as SB 342, has also just been posted for a hearing on this Wednesday, March 26, 2003.

HB 1921, like SB 342, would gut parental rights and medical privacy provisions in the current law and require that all doctors and insurance companies release EVERY child's private immunization record and identifying information, WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT, to the Texas Department of Health to be permanently tagged and tracked in either an immunization surveillance database or a database of "non-consenters" to the registry.

HB 1921 extends the reach of TDH to have access to and control over a child's PRIVATE medical immunization record with the child's PRIVATE doctor and the child's PRIVATE insurance company without a parent's consent. This is an offensive, intrusive, and inappropriate function of a state agency.

Even though you may have already contacted the Senate, this is a whole new and different committee considering this same language in a completely different bill in the House. Please contact the members of the House Public Health Committee and your Representative and come to testify against the bill! We need you in Austin. The details are below.

HB 1921, by Representative Jaime Capelo, is the companion bill to SB 39 by Senator Judith Zaffirini which has not been brought up yet in committee. As a matter of fact, 5 bills have been filed this session that all contain somewhere in the bills this same registry language all in different committees to try and shove this down our throats - HB 1921 by Capelo and companion SB 39 by Zaffirini, HB 1016 by Gallego and companion SB 342 by Shapleigh, and HB 1556 by Coleman. We have to educate our legislators and committee members to stop this assault on our parental and medical privacy rights.

Representative Capelo is claiming that HB 1921 changes the registry from OPT-IN to OPT-OUT and that is dangerously deceptive. There is no OPTING-OUT of having your child's records released to the department: it is a FORCED RELEASE that you cannot stop. The burden of consent would be shifted where a parent would have to OPT-OUT of the registry itself, and the only way they could accomplish this would be by writing directly to the Health Department, the very department parents didn't want their child's records going to in the first place. Under this bill, the action of opting out would cause the child's personal identifiable information to be entered into another state health department computer file of "non-consenters" (called a firewall database by TDH) accomplishing their intrusive goal of tagging and tracking every single child. This is a huge step backwards for parental and medical privacy rights, and for these reasons, this bill has to be stopped.

Additionally, because Federal Medical Privacy Regulations for HIPAA permit public health disclosures without consent in the absence of a stricter state law requiring consent, the language in HB 1921 if passed, would make "opting-out" of other local, state, or federal vaccine tracking systems impossible for parents.

State vaccine tracking registries being promoted in the name of protecting the public health are simply a smokescreen for the creation of yet another big brother government-operated system that will further invade our privacy and take away endangered liberties.

The threat that these registries pose is real: computerized databases operated by the government for the purpose of tagging and tracking every child have been and increasingly will be used to punish citizens and physicians for disagreement and non-compliance with government dictated health care or other policies.

The flaw in this plan is that governments don't raise children - parents do, and our ability to protect our children from bureaucratic and industry influence and needs to be fiercely protected.

If you can arrange to be at the hearing Wednesday morning March 26th at 8:00 a.m., in the Capitol Extension Hearing Room E2.036, please come! It is important that you are heard. If you can't be there, then please at least contact the committee members and your own State Representative from Sunday, March 23rd, through early Wednesday morning March 26th. Let them know how you feel about HB 1921, by Representative Jaime Capelo.

1) CONTACT all the members of the House Public Health Committee, the Speaker, the Governor and your own Representative Sunday (3/23) through early Wednesday morning (3/26) urging them to OPPOSE HB 1921 by Representative Capelo.

CALL:

Representative Jodie Laubenberg, vice-chair - (512) 463-0186
Representative Vicki Truitt - (512) 463-0690
Representative Glenda Dawson - (512) 463-0707
Representative Jim McReynolds - (512) 463-0490
Representative Elliott Naishtat - (512) 463-0668
Representative Larry Taylor - (512) 463-0729
Representative Bill Zedler - (512) 463-0374
* Representative Jaime Capelo, chair - (512) 463-0462
** Representative Garnet Coleman - (512) 463-0524
Speaker Tom Craddick - (512) 463-1000
Governor Rick Perry - (512) 463-2000

* bill author HB 1921, he still needs to hear from you but don't expect sympathy
** author of bill HB 1556 with same bad registry language not yet posted for public hearing, he still needs to hear from you but don't expect sympathy

On all calls, please be polite, and respectful. Introduce yourself and say where you live.

Suggested Talking Points in Opposition to HB 1921

* HB 1921 is a HUGE step backwards for parental and medical privacy rights. Please encourage Representative ______ to vote against this bill.

* The current vaccine registry law is OPT-IN. It correctly requires my doctor, insurance company or the health department to get my consent before releasing my child's record or entering it into the registry.

* This bill contains language that would undo these protections by requiring doctors and insurance companies to release every child's record to TDH without parental consent. I am strongly opposed to this.

* As the parent of MY child, it should be MY responsibility and MY responsibility alone to determine who gets to see my child's medical record.

* The OPT-OUT provision in this bill is a scam because my child's records would be sent to TDH no matter what. A parent would have to track TDH down and make the request in writing to have their child's vaccine record removed, however the action of opting out would then cause the child's personal identifiable information to be permanently entered into another TDH computer file of "non-consenters" (called a firewall database by TDH).

* This bill set up a confrontational big brother like monitoring system subjecting "non-consenters" to scrutiny and potential sanctions by insurance companies, health care providers, and other unforeseen abuses.

* If I trusted TDH to have any of this information on my child, I would have OPTED-IN under the current law to begin with. TDH has a history of blatant disregard for parental and medical privacy rights under the current law. Millions of children were found to have been entered illegally without the parental consent required and some parents who have found their children entered without consent have tried unsuccessfully to have their child removed.

* I do not want to have my child's medical details released to persons I do not know, for purposes I cannot predict, which may be contrary to my child's best interests.

* Not all vaccines are safe, effective, or necessary for all children.

* Doctors, insurance companies, and TDH should have to continue to operate under the current law and obtain my permission in order to release any portion of my child's confidential medical record or enter it into a government database. If you let them rationalize releasing a child's medical record for this without parental consent, what and who will be next?

* Please consider that there are a lot more people in Representative _____'s district that expect to be asked permission before their minor children's medical records are released than there are people who want to take them behind parents' backs without their consent.

* My experience with TDH, vaccine reactions or harassment is (and tell the legislative aide your experience)

FAX AND EMAIL Committee Members, Speaker, and Governor - Refer to the sample letter below.

Representative Jodie Laubenberg, vice-chair - FAX (512) 463-8391
Representative Vicki Truitt - FAX (512) 477-5770
Representative Glenda Dawson - FAX (512) 463-1939
Representative Jim McReynolds - FAX (512) 463-9059
Representative Elliott Naishtat - FAX (512) 463-8022
Representative Larry Taylor - FAX (512) 474-2398
Representative Bill Zedler - FAX (512) 463-0364
* Representative Jaime Capelo, chair - FAX (512) 463-9545
** Representative Garnet Coleman - FAX (512) 463-1260
Speaker Tom Craddick - FAX (512) 463-7722
Governor Rick Perry FAX (512) FAX 463-1849

* bill author HB 1921, he still needs to hear from you but don't expect sympathy
** author of bill HB 1556 with same bad registry language not yet posted for public hearing, he still needs to hear from you but don't expect sympathy

jodie.laubenberg@house.state.tx.us, vicki.truitt@house.state.tx.us, Glenda.Dawson@house.state.tx.us, Jim.McReynolds@house.state.tx.us, Elliott.Naishtat@house.state.tx.us, Larry.Taylor@house.state.tx.us, william.zedler@house.state.tx.us, Jaime.Capelo@house.state.tx.us, Garnet.Coleman@house.state.tx.us, tom.craddick@speaker.state.tx.us

Email Governor Rick Perry - Link to http://www.governor.state.tx.us/contact  and enter your note.

ASK FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO CALL, FAX AND EMAIL Friends who want less government interference in their lives will see the problems here very clearly.

CALL AND EMAIL YOUR OWN REPRESENTATIVE To see who represents you, link to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/fyi/fyi.htm. Then link to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us and click on House Members. Contact phone and email forms can be found on your Representative's web site linked under contact info.

You can use the same letter form below.

2) COME TESTIFY IN PERSON at the House Public Hearing of the Committee on Public Health against HB 1921.

Wednesday, 3/26 8:00 a.m. in the Capitol Extension E2.036 Texas State Capitol, at 12th Street and Congress Ave., Austin Texas

We need you here - Don't let the state track your kids and put them in a database to force vaccination or anything else. Write your testimony out ahead of time so you can practice it - it needs to be around 3 minutes long in case time limits are imposed.

When you get to the Hearing Room, pick up a Witness Affirmation Form and fill it out against HB 1921. Make sure you sign the form. Find a committee clerk to give the form to. You need to know that there is a possibility they may not get to HB 1921 before the House convenes and goes into session. If that is the case, the committee will reconvene shortly after the House adjourns and continue. If that is the case, it is possible that it could be a very long day. Since we have no way of knowing, we have to be there on time.

The committee will call on you when it is your turn to give your testimony.

GENERAL INFORMATION:

Parking is available in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage located between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets. Parking is free for the first two hours and $.75 for each half hour thereafter (maximum charge: $6.00). Metered spaces are available throughout the complex.

Directions to visitor parking garage: From IH-35 in Austin, take the 15th Street Exit heading west toward the Capitol. A few blocks down, take a left onto San Jacinto. The entrance to the Capitol visitor parking garage is a couple of blocks down on your left on the intersection 13th Street and San Jacinto. The entrance in on 13th Street. The Capitol grounds are just 1 1/2 blocks due west from the front of the garage. (just look up and walk towards the dome of the capitol.) When you get inside, because it will depend on which door you go in, ask the security guards for the stairs or elevators to get to the Capitol Extension hearing room E2.036.

There is a cafeteria available in the Capitol Extension on floor E1.

 

SUGGESTIONS FOR EMAILS, FAXES AND TESTIMONY

[YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS]
[DATE]

The Honorable [REPRESENATIVE'S NAME]
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910

Dear Representative [REPRESENTATIVE'S NAME],

Please oppose HB 1921 by Representative Capelo. HB 1921 will be heard in the House Public Health Committee on March 26th.

[PERSONALIZED BODY - THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO IS KEEP THE TOTAL LETTER LENGTH TO ONE PAGE OR LESS TO MAKE SURE IT IS READ - THAT WILL ALSO KEEP YOUR TESTIMONY TO 3 MINUTES.

CUSTOMIZE SOME OF THE TALKING POINTS INCLUDED ABOVE UNDER THE CALL SECTION INTO YOUR OWN WORDS RELATING TO YOUR OWN PERSONAL STORY AND WHAT THIS BILL REPRESENTS TO YOU.]

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME AND CREDENTIALS]

If you would like to read the bill for yourself, you can link to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us and enter HB 1921 and click on the bill text selections.

If you are new to this issue and don't fully understand why killing this bill is so important, please visit http://www.vaccineinfo.net/issues/tracking/txregistry/outline.shtml and http://www.vaccineinfo.net/issues/tracking/nationalregistry/nationalindex.shtml for a complete history of the abuses and dangers of the Texas Immunization Tracking system and government immunization tracking systems in general.

Thank you for your help!

Here is the letter I'm sending to every committee member from PROVE.

PLEASE OPPOSE HB 1921: Bill Guts Parental and Medical Privacy Rights

Scheduled for Public Hearing on Wednesday, 3/26/03, House Public Health Committee

As parents, we can all relate to the challenges of teaching our children right from wrong. One basic universal lesson from childhood is that you don't take something that doesn't belong to you without permission.

This fundamental ethical principal is the primary reason why the Texas Legislature overwhelmingly passed and Governor Bush signed a law in 1997 requiring doctors to ask a parent's permission before they release a child's confidential immunization record and enter it into a state government operated immunization surveillance database.

Representative Capelo and some medical trade associations are alleging in HB 1921 that fundamental parental and medical privacy rights are a burden and not worth preserving. They want to gut the current law and require that all doctors and insurance companies release every child's private immunization record and identifying information to the Texas Department of Health without parental consent. Under their proposal, a written request by a parent directly to the state agency to remove their child from the registry would trigger the child's information being moved to yet another TDH database of "non-consenters," still resulting in the tagging and tracking of every single child. Even though there would be nothing a parent could do to stop the unauthorized release of their child's records to TDH or to prevent their child from being included in a TDH database of dissidents, they are deceptively calling this proposal an "opt-out" system.

Additionally, because Federal Medical Privacy Regulations for HIPAA permit public health disclosures without consent in the absence of a stricter state law requiring consent, the language in HB 1921 if passed, would make "opting-out" of other local, state, or federal vaccine tracking systems impossible for parents.

HB 1921 extends the reach of TDH to have access to and control over a child's PRIVATE medical immunization record with the child's PRIVATE doctor and the child's PRIVATE insurance company without a parent's consent. This is an offensive, intrusive, and inappropriate function of a state agency.

It gets worse. While registry proponents have been promising that the data is safe and secure, for the last six years they have been stealing it behind our backs in total defiance of the current law.

Almost a year after the required informed consent law was passed, a legislative staffer who personally worked on the legislation learned that his children were being tracked by TDH without his permission. This prompted a legislative inquiry by Senator Jerry Patterson, which revealed that 3.3 million Texas children had been entered illegally by TDH. Personal information, including names, addresses and parents' Social Security numbers, had been downloaded into the immunization database from the child's confidential birth certificate records. Although a peace offering by the health commissioner resulted in hundreds of thousands of these illegally obtained records being purged, many parents have reported that even though they never gave consent, their children are still in the database and their attempts to have their child's record removed have been unsuccessful.

It didn't stop there.

Today, TDH obtains what they consider to constitute positive "opt-in" informed consent from a one millimeter-sized check box on the birth certificate application to which hospital staff frequently check "yes" for the mother who is busy delivering her baby at the time the form is filled out. Parents who have known to ask for the form to consciously look and check off "no" on registry consent question 19(b) have reported that hospital staff sometimes will even retype their form and change the answer to yes. These subversive tactics are the way that TDH is able to make the highly questionable claim that all these parents "want" to participate in the registry.

The public needs to know that the reasoning of those who are attacking our current "opt-in" law is weak; as weak as their efforts have been to follow it.

For example, we don't have an immunization rate problem; we have bureaucrats with a self-serving math deficiency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention immunization surveys cited include more doses of vaccines than our state law requires, so even when children are fully immunized according to the law in Texas, they don't count. The truth is that when looking at individual rates for individual vaccines, we are already in the 80 and 90 percentiles for 2-year-olds and in the high 90 percentile overall for kids entering kindergarten. (See report posted at http://www.vaccineinfo.net/immunization/rates/index.shtml)

In fact, gutting the existing parental consent provisions would put parents who care about medical privacy in the position of having to choose between having their kids vaccinated or keeping their children's medical records out of an intrusive government database. That can only have a negative affect on immunization rates.

Just as many parents don't want the state tracking and micromanaging their health-care choices for their children, many private practice doctors have no interest in having their practices watched and their performance delivering vaccines rated. We've spoken with many doctors who feel they can keep track of a child's records just fine and don't want or need any help from TDH. Forcing a doctor to release the confidential medical record of a child against the will of a parent will drive a wedge of mistrust in a relationship crucial to the health of the child. No person should be forced to submit to government surveillance because of either obtaining or declining medical treatment.

Since the only way TDH is willing to populate a statewide immunization tracking system is through deceit and brute force, maybe it doesn't need to exist at all. Certainly the legislature should not reward unethical and illegal behavior with more power and control. They should look for ways to make TDH and doctors follow the existing law as Representative Corte has done in HB 2842. In the meantime, do you know where your children's medical records are?

Thank you.

Sincerely, Dawn Richardson, President
Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education

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April 5, 2008

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