Phelan highlights Medicaid extension for new mothers, online privacy protections

Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) announced his first set of legislative priorities for the Texas House on topics such as data security, Medicaid coverage for new mothers, online safety measures for children, and tax exemptions for feminine products.

Phelan’s priorities include House Bill (HB) 4 by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake), HB 12 by Rep. Toni Rose (D-Dallas), HB 18 by Rep. Shelby Slawson (R-Stephenville), and HB 300 by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin).

Capriglione’s legislation would “grant Texans new online rights” and “crack down on how companies collect, and in instances profit from, their personal data,” according to the speaker’s office.

Rose’s bill would lengthen the timeframe that new mothers are covered under Medicaid to 12 months. Rose authored a bill during the 87th Legislature that extended the timeframe to six months. The bill passed the House on third reading with only nine Republicans in opposition.

Phelan’s office said Slawson’s bill is designed to give parents tools to protect children from “addictive algorithms” on social media. Rep. Jared Patterson (R-Frisco) has also filed a bill that would prohibit social media companies from allowing minors to use their platforms.

HB 300 by Howard would exempt certain essential supplies for women and infants from sales tax. Feminine hygiene products are covered under the bill.

“I am so proud of the hard work that members of the Texas House have already put into these four legislative proposals, which reflect some of the most pressing issues on the minds of Texans today,” Phelan said in a news release.

“These bills are great starting points for our chamber as we work to get them over the finish line this legislative session, and I thank Representatives Capriglione, Rose, Slawson and Howard for their leadership.”

The deadline to file bills is March 10, whereupon lawmakers are permitted to take up items that are not on Gov. Greg Abbott’s list of emergency items.

Phelan also formed a select committee on Thursday for gun bills proposed during the legislative session.

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