Protecting Public Health
Combating the spread of HIV — and increasing awareness of the disease –is a top priority of Senator Ellis’. In 2011, Ellis helped pass legislation to give health care advocates and those infected with HIV more of a voice on the HIV Medication Advisory Committee and, in 2007, required the Texas Department of Criminal Justice screen inmates upon release to reduce the growing problem of offenders returning to the community unaware they have contracted HIV.
Reduce Teen Pregnancy
To combat the alarming rise of teenage pregnancies in Texas, Senator Ellis has sponsored legislation requiring schools which teach sex education provide evidence-based, age-appropriate information rather than abstinence-only education.
Helping Texas Families
Save on Drug Costs: To help Texans better afford the rising health care costs, in 1999 Ellis passed legislation eliminating sales tax on any over-the-counter medicines, saving Texas families millions of dollars in unnecessary costs. In 2005, Ellis fought to expand access to more affordable prescription drugs by allowing Texans easier access to less expensive prescription drugs from Canada.
Increasing Access to Health Care
In 1993, Ellis passed legislation requiring nonprofit hospitals — which receive significant tax breaks — to provide health care to uninsured patients. As a result of Ellis’ efforts, the amount of charity care provided by Texas’s non-profit hospitals increased 72 percent between 1992 and 1996.
Senator Ellis has led the effort to ensure smoke-free businesses in Texas. The Smoke-Free Texas Act would eliminate smoking in places of employment, restaurants and bars, drastically lowering cancer rates and other diseases associated with smoking. Nationwide, billions of dollars are spent on medical care of non-smokers suffering from lung cancer or heart disease caused by secondhand smoke.