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From April 30, 2001

Oppose MANDATORY Computerized Vaccine Tracking System Language in SB 1237!

Dear PROVE Texas Members and Texas Parents, 

The Texas Department of Health and some doctors want to track your children's immunization records in a state operated computer registry without your consent!

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of parents, the current law is one of the most protective of parental and medical privacy rights in the country. It requires doctors and insurance companies to obtain OPT-IN written informed consent of the parent before releasing a child's immunization records and it also requires the Texas Department of Health to obtain OPT-IN written informed consent of the parent before the child's immunization record is entered into the registry.

But one senator, some doctors, and the health department who view parental and medical privacy rights as a burden, want to undo all that with a bill that would allow doctors and insurance companies to dump your child's private record to the Texas Department of Health en masse without parental consent for the purpose of tracking and enforcing an overzealous and inflexible state immunization schedule. Under SB 1237, a parent would have the right to opt-out of the registry only by writing to the Health Department which would cause the child to be entered into another state health department government file of "non-consenters." The registry is accessible to all immunization providers, all schools, and all local and state health officials.

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/txregistry/outline.htm and http://www.vaccineinfo.net/nationalregistry/nationalindex.htm for a complete history of the abuses and dangers of the Texas Immunization Tracking system and government immunization tracking systems in general.

We have been given a very good indication that SB 1237 will be scheduled for a public hearing this Thursday 5/03/01.  It is important that you reserve it to come to Austin if you can, and I will post the details by Monday evening once we get a confirmation.  Not only do we need your opposition for SB 1237, we also need a lot of our supporters on hand at the hearing to be available to help counter the efforts by overzealous doctors and health officials to undo other parental rights issues regarding immunizations.

If you think it is hard to protect your child from a vaccine that is either dangerous or unnecessary now, if this bill passes, your child's information will be permanently held in one of two databases at the Texas Department of Health - either the registry itself or in a file of "non-consenters" and there will be NOTHING you can legally do to have it deleted.

Originally, this bill was going to contain a conscientious exemption for vaccination, but the staff of the senate sponsor have confirmed that even this one positive provision will be stripped out with a committee substitute at the time of the hearing.

There some urgent ACTION ITEMS we need you to complete. It will not take long, and it will be a huge help!  See expanded details below.

Summary:
1) CALL YOUR OWN STATE SENATOR IMMEDIATELY
2) CALL THE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE HEALTH HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE IMMEDIATELY
3) EMAIL AND FAX LETTERS TO THE SENATE HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE MEMBERS ASAP (by 5/2)
4) FAX AND EMAIL A COPY OF YOUR LETTER TO YOUR OWN SENATOR AND REPRESENATIVE
5) EMAIL A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OF OPPOSITION TO SB 1237 TO PROVE
6) MAKE SURE YOU ARE ON OUR EMAIL LIST TO STAY UPDATED

Expanded Details:
1.) CALL YOUR OWN STATE SENATOR IMMEDIATELY

To find out who your state senator and state representative are and what their Austin office phone numbers are, link to:
http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/fyi/fyi.htm

CALL your Senator's office and introduce yourself, say where you
are calling from, IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS A CONSTITUENT and ask to speak with the legislative aid who is handling health and immunization bills. 

Introduce yourself to the aid identifying yourself as a constituent.  Explain in your own words that you are calling specifically to ask your senator to talk to all the health committee members that he/she can to relay your opposition to the proposed changes to the immunization tracking system contained in SB 1237 by Senator Mike Moncrief. Tell the aid the bill will most likely be heard on 5/3 in the Health and Human Services Committee. Give some background and pick a few points to discuss: 

* Thanks to the hard work and dedication of parents 4 years ago, the current immunization registry law is one of the most protective of parental and medical privacy rights in the country. It requires doctors and insurance companies to obtain OPT-IN written informed consent of the parent before releasing a child's immunization records and it also requires the Texas Department of Health to obtain OPT-IN written informed consent of the parent before the child's immunization record is entered into the registry. The registry needs to stay like this!

* SB 1237 attempts to undo these protections by ignoring ethical informed consent rights of parents by seeking to give the Texas Department of Health the big brother like authority to collect ALL minor children's immunization records from the child's doctor and insurance company without parental consent.
* The burden would then be placed on the parent to write to the health department to keep the child out of the registry which would then place the child in a TDH government file of "not-consenters". This is wrong.
* The Senate overwhelmingly passed (30:1) Senator Jane Nelson's medical privacy bill SB 11 which requires OPT-IN informed consent before medical records can be released.  Children of this state deserve the same protections, not less!
* Current Texas Immunization laws ignore already ignore parental and human rights - a parent cannot delay or decline a vaccine they think is either harmful or unnecessary for their child - this registry change would make it so much worse for parents trying to protect their children because all children would be tracked in one file or another and the information will be used to deny insurance or health care. (tell stories of being kicked out of doctors offices, insurance plans, and schools for not giving all doses of all vaccines.)  
 * Children in Texas get as many as 39 doses of 12 different vaccines by school entry [ breakout for your knowledge: 5-DPT,  4-Polio, 3-Hep B, 4- Hib, 2-Hep A, 1-Chicken Pox (varicella), 2-MMR, 4-pnuemococcal]. Over 200 new vaccines are in development and candidates for mandates.  These records should remain private between you and your family doctor !
 * Some of these vaccines are not safe or necessary for all children (give your own examples)
 * MOST IMPORTANT - If your child has had a vaccine reaction, tell them about what this has done to your child and family and that you've already trusted the system once and look where it got you. You are strongly opposed to having your records released by your doctor or insurance company without your consent, especially to the state health department for government monitoring. If you trusted the Texas Department of Health, you would have opted into their registry system already, but you haven't because you don't. 

2) CALL THE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE HEALTH HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE IMMEDIATELY

 Use the same points from above that you chose to tell your own senator.

Senator David Bernsen (512) 463-0104
Senator John Carona (512) 463-0116
Senator Mario Gallegos (512) 463-0106
Senator Chris Harris (512) 463-0110
Senator Frank Madla (512) 463-0119
* Senator Mike Moncrief (512) 463-0112
Senator Jane Nelson (512) 463-0109
Senator Eliot Shapleigh (512) 463-0129
Senator David Sibley (512) 463-0122 

*Senator Moncrief is the bill sponsor, so don't expect his staff to have much of a listening for this - but he still needs to hear from everyone.

3) FAX AND EMAIL LETTERS TO THE SENATE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE MEMBERS ASAP (before end of day 5/2)

Please really try to fax AND email letters.  Hand sign faxed copies if possible. If you can't get through on the senator's direct fax line, the Senate general fax is (512) 463-0695. 

Senator David Bernsen   Fax (512) 463-6373
Senator John Carona   Fax (512) 463-3135
Senator Mario Gallegos   Fax (512) 463-0346
Senator Chris Harris   Fax (512) 463-7003
Senator Frank Madla   Fax (512) 463-1017
Senator Mike Moncrief   Fax (512) 475-3745
Senator Jane Nelson   Fax (512) 463-0923
Senator Eliot Shapleigh   Fax (512) 463-0218
Senator David Sibley   Fax (512) 475-3729

 

Send electronic copies of your letters to:

david.bernsen@senate.state.tx.us; john.carona@senate.state.tx.us; mario,gallegos@senate.state.tx.us; chris.harris@senate.state.tx.us; frank.madla@senate.state.tx.us; mike.moncrief@senate.state.tx.us; jane.nelson@senate.state.tx.us; eliot.shapleigh@senate.state.tx.us; david.sibley@senate.state.tx.us 

SAMPLE LETTER
------------------------

[YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS]

[DATE]

The Honorable [SENATOR'S NAME]
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, TX  78711-2068

Dear Senator [SENATOR'S NAME],

Please oppose SB 1237 by Senator Mike Moncrief.

[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. 

CUSTOMIZE SOME OF THE POINTS INCLUDED ABOVE IN THE PHONE SCRIPT INTO YOUR OWN WORDS TO EMPHASISE WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU.

BE RESPECTFUL AND POSITIVE IN YOUR CHOICES OF WORDS]

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME - FOLLOWED BY A HAND SIGNATURE]

4) MAIL AND EMAIL A COPY OF YOUR LETTER TO YOUR OWN SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVE

MAIL a hand-signed copy of your letter to you own personal senator at the general senate address on the sample letter. Because time is short for mail, also email your letter to your senator directly by using the form for the email address as your senator's firstname.lastname@senate.state.tx.us

For safe measure since time left this session is short and in case the bill gets to the house, also mail and email a copy to your state representative. The mailing address for all representatives is P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910. The email address takes the same form where you can just insert the first and last name of you representative firstname.lastname@house.state.tx.us

5) EMAIL A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OF OPPOSITION FOR SB 1237 TO PROVE.

So that we can keep a record of opposition, please email a copy of your letter that you've sent to your senator to PROVE. Place the words "OPPOSE SB 1237" in the subject line.

6) MAKE SURE YOU ARE ON OUR EMAIL LIST TO STAY UPDATED

If you are not currently on our email list because you've gotten this alert from a friend, please subscribe so you can stay updated how you can help if the bill gets out of committee.  You can subscribe at http://www.vaccineinfo.net/subscribe.htm. You will also receive news about vaccine safety and vaccine informed consent issues. 

If you are planning on coming to Austin, we need everyone to be prepared to give testimony, even if it is as simple as standing up and saying you are opposed to the bill and then sitting down. Oral testimony will be limited to 3 minutes and our goal will be to make sure that we show respect to the committee and nobody gets called for exceeding the time limit.

Thank you for everything.

Please get busy - we need everybody to pull together to stop SB 1237!

Sincerely,
Dawn Richardson
President, PROVE

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April 5, 2008

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