UPDATE: Proposed bill would rescind governor’s order of HPV vaccine

AUSTIN?A bill approved Feb. 21 by the Texas House Committee on Public Health would rescind the controversial mandate by Gov. Rick Perry of a vaccine for pre-teen girls against the human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer.

The committee voted 6-3 to forward the bill, sponsored by state Rep. Dennis Bonnen and about 90 co-sponsors among the 150 House members, reports in the Austin American-Statesman and the Dallas Morning News said.

Legislators in Austin had been gathering support in an effort to pressure the second-term Republican governor to rescind his executive order of Feb. 2, which caused a firestorm of criticism, especially from conservative groups angered over the mandating of the newly approved vaccine.

House Bill 1098 would prevent Texas public schools from using the vaccine as an enrollment requirement.

“My concern is, we just don’t know enough about this vaccine,” Bonnen, R-Angleton, told the Dallas Morning News. “This is about policy, not politics. But certainly [Gov. Perry] has created a great deal of support for us to not mandate this for 11-year-old girls.”

Also, on Feb. 20 a Texas state court judge refused Perry’s executive order to hasten permits for coal-burning utilities, a move that may call into question the governor’s ability to enforce directives, the Morning News reported.

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