Obesity

Subtopics

General obesity-related bills

Bill # Author Status Brief Description Past Bills (2015)
SB 756 Sen. José Menéndez

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Group health insurance plans would be required to provide coverage for obesity diagnosis and treatment, including nutrition counseling, medication, or bariatric surgery.  Companion bill: HB 3560
HB 3560 Rep. Tom Oliverson FAILED TO PASS - passed the House (138-7) but did not receive Senate committee hearing Creates a joint interim committee to study requiring group health insurance plans to cover obesity diagnosis and treatment.  Bill originally called for requiring group health insurance plans to provide coverage, but was amended while in committee.  Companion bill: SB 756

General Obesity Resources

  1. Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention (2012); report from the Institute of Medicine

Breastfeeding

Bill # Author Status Brief Description Past Bills (2015)
HB 329 Rep. Mary Gonzalez

FAILED TO PASSleft pending in committee

Directs every state agency, "to the extent reasonably practicable," to develop a policy supporting the practice of worksite breast-feeding and submit this policy to the Department of State Health Services for inclusion on a list of "mother-friendly" businesses. Public employers are already required by state statute to have such policies in place. Builds on HB 786 that passed in 2015.
HB 443 Rep. Armando Walle FAILED TO PASS - passed committee but did not receive House vote Public employers would have to provide a place, other than a bathroom, for the expression of breast milk. Currently, single-person bathrooms qualify as a lactation place.
HB 742 Rep. Jessica Farrar FAILED TO PASS - passed committee but did not receive House vote Allows a mother to bring civil action if her right to breast-feed is violated. Requires Comptroller's office to promote general awareness of this right through various communications channels. Similar to HB 232 (2015) and HB 1706 (2013); out of committee (Business & Industry), failed to get House vote.
SB 279 Sen. Judith Zaffirini

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Requires the designation of a place, other than a bathroom, for the expression of breast milk at the Texas Capitol building; and, ensures new construction or renovations of buildings where public employees work also include such a private space. 

Breastfeeding Resources

  1. TexasMotherFriendly.org; website run by the Texas Department of State Health Services with extensive information and resources about worksite lactation policies. The Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program seeks to reduce barriers to breastfeeding by increasing the proportion of employers who have worksite lactation support policies and programs.
  2. Infographic: Being a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite, 2016.
  3. Exclusive breastfeeding to reduce the risk of childhood overweight and obesity; summary and library of references from the World Health Organization.
  4. Healthy Texas Babies; webpage with information on workplace breastfeeding, including links to best practices, from the Texas Department of State Health Services

Active Transportation and Built Environment

Bill # Author Status Brief Description Past Bills (2015)
SB 31 Sen. Judith Zaffirini FAILED TO PASS - companion bill HB 62 did pass Would prohibit the use of a cell phone while driving, unless using a hands-free device. Currently many cities across Texas have this rule in place, but there is no state-wide law. Companion bills: HB 62 and HB 160.  Similar bill: SB 67
SB 67 Sen. Judith Zaffirini

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Would prohibit the use of a cell phone while driving, unless using a hands-free device. Currently many cities across Texas have this rule in place, but there is no state-wide law. Similar bill: SB 31
HB 62 Rep. Tom Craddick

PASSED  - Signed by the Governor; effective 9/1/2017

Would prohibit the use of a cell phone while driving, unless using a hands-free device. The bill has been amended to only cover texting and calling, so you could still hold your phone when using GPS or music.  Currently many cities across Texas have a texting while driving ban in place, but there is no state-wide law. Companion bill: SB 31. Duplicate bill: HB 160.  Similar bill: SB 67 Similar to HB 80; Failed to pass, died on Senate floor. Similar bills have been vetoed on multiple occasions.
HB 160 Rep. Eddie Lucio III

FAILED TO PASS duplicate bill HB 62 did pass

Would prohibit the use of a cell phone while driving, unless using a hands-free device. Currently many cities across Texas have this rule in place, but there is no state-wide law. Companion bill: SB 31.  Duplicate bill: HB 62. Similar bill: SB 67 Similar to HB 80; Failed to pass, died on Senate floor. Similar bills have been vetoed on multiple occasions.
SB 57 Sen. Judith Zaffirini

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Would prohibit the use of a cell phone while driving for state business by state employees, unless engaged in law enforcement or emergency activities.
HB 520 Rep. Chris Turner

FAILED TO PASS - left pending in committee

Would prohibit the use of texting while driving with a minor present, in a school zone, or if the driver is a minor, unless using a hands-free device.
HB 1748 Rep. Gary VanDeaver

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Would prohibit the use of a cell phone or other portable electronic device while driving, unless using a hands-free device.  Similar to HB 62HB 160SB 31 and SB 67.
HB 1236 Rep. Armando "Mando" Martinez

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Would create standard traffic laws to better protect pedestrians, cyclists, and other "unprotected road users" (e.g. safe passing distances, right-of-way, harassment or intimidation); establishes penalties if the violation of these laws leads to bodily or property harm.  Companion bill: SB 1274
SB 1274 Sen. Jose Rodriguez

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Would create standard traffic laws to better protect pedestrians, cyclists, and other "unprotected road users" (e.g. safe passing distances, right-of-way, harassment or intimidation); establishes penalties if the violation of these laws leads to bodily or property harm.  Companion bill: HB 1236
HB 1368 Rep. Celia Israel

FAILED TO PASS - left pending in committee

Aims to make neighborhood streets safer for non-motorists by lowering the default speed limit when driving in a neighborhood to 25 MPH; current default is 30 MPH. Companion bill: SB 1244
SB 1244 Sen. Jose Rodriguez

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Aims to make neighborhood streets safe for non-motorists by lowering the default speed limit when driving in a neighborhood to 25 MPH; current default is 30 MPH. Companion bill: HB 1368
HB 1677 Rep. Celia Israel

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Creates a task force that would propose a plan based on the Vision Zero model to eliminate all traffic deaths in the state.  San Antonio and Austin currently have Vision Zero plans.  Companion bill: SB 1245
SB 1245 Sen. Jose Rodriguez

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Creates a task force that would propose a plan based on the Vision Zero model to eliminate all traffic deaths in the state.  San Antonio and Austin currently have Vision Zero plans. Companion bill: HB 1677
HB 4125 Rep. Valoree Swanson

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Eliminates distracted driving ordinances created by cities or municipalities.  Several cities including Austin, El Paso, and San Antonio, currently prohibit texting while driving.  It also makes it a criminal offense if a person causes an accident due to distracted driving.  Companion bill: SB 1356
SB 1356 Sen. Bob Hall

FAILED TO PASS - did not receive committee hearing 

Eliminates distracted driving ordinances created by cities or municipalities.  Several cities including Austin, El Paso, and San Antonio, currently prohibit texting while driving.  It also makes it a criminal offense if a person causes an accident due to distracted driving.  Companion bill: HB 4125

Resources for Active Transportation and Built Environment

  1. Active Transportation: Making the Link from Transportation to Physical Activity and Obesity; research brief from Active Living Research
  2. Our Kids Want to Walk the Walk! findings from the Texas Child Obesity Prevention Policy Evaluation project