The House Appropriations Committee has voted unanimously to substitute its version of the appropriations bill (HB 1) for the Senate version of the appropriations bill (SB 1). Now SB 1 will go to the full House of Representatives for discussion and vote.
The good news is that the House version of the appropriations bill is exactly the same as the Senate version when it comes to funding for HIV. The $15 million exceptional item request made by the Texas Department of State Health Services has been approved--so far.
The next step is the House vote. Then comes a conference committee to iron out the differences between the House version and the Senate version. This is where the bad news comes in. Even if both houses say that the $15 million should be appropriated, the conference committee can still take it away to pay for something else.
Texas AIDS Network is gearing up for a campaign to help the conference committee do the right thing. If you want to be part of that, drop us an email: tan AT texasaids DOT net. To participate, you'll have to commit to getting at least 19 other folks to send postcards to all 10 conference committee members. We'll provide the postcards, but you and your posse will have to pay your postage.
Update: The House is expected to start considering SB 1 on Wednesday, April 6.