Thursday, September 20, 2007

Needle exchange gets unexpected 2009 boost

This is good news for the initiative to expand legal needle exchange programs in Texas: House Public Health Committee Chair Dianne Delisi has decided to not to seek re-election.

Regular readers know that the Texas Legislature in 2007 authorized the first ever legal needle exchange program in the state - a pilot program in Bexar County. The Bexar County Commissioners Court is moving forward with the program despite the District Attorney's initial objections.

That pilot program was a compromise, a foot in the door that had previously been shut tight by Chairwoman Delisi. A bill to authorize Texas county to launch a needle exchange program passed the Texas Senate this year, but was stopped by Delisi in Public Health when she wouldn't give the bill a vote. A "local" floor amendment Delisi accepted with great reluctance ultimately allowed the Bexar pilot, and was passed handily by the House.

Since needle exchange passed in both chambers in one form or another - the pilot in the House and the full enchilada in the Senate - having the biggest bottleneck for the idea announce her retirement will hopefully help move the idea further along in 2009. There's no telling who will replace the representative from Temple as chair of Public Health, but it's unlikely they'd be more hostile to the idea than Delisi has been over the years.

With all that said, my disagreement with Rep. Delisi on this or that policy issue mustn't stop Grits from offering sincere congratulations to Rep. Delisi on her retirement (if you get out of Texas politics in one piece with your dignity intact, that's pretty much considered a 'success'), and I wish her luck in her future endeavors.


Anonymous said...

I was too happy to see she is not running again! She and Good Hair are buds and that is all I need to know about her! Her daughter-in-law was Good Hair's Cheif of Staff untill recently. She was a rich girl who only looked out for big money interests. She was a White as in Scott & White hospital. She did not represent the "Common People"! I hope we do better after the next election. After the way the Republicans have had their way with Texas voters maybe we will get a Democrat in place of her.

Taylor said...

Good riddance. She blocked a simply hearing on a modest medical marijuana bill. I'm glad to see her go. I guess the pay wasn't enough.