Rep. Landgraf has filed a bill that will allow families to be able to be with loved ones in their final moments during a pandemic.

According to CBS 7, Rep. Landgraf has already filed House Bill 665 which will require state agencies to get approval from the legislature to update emergency rules, especially hospital visitation rules, in the middle of a disaster or pandemic.

“I heard far too many tragic and sad stories from Texans who were prevented from being with their loved ones in a hospital during their final moments,” said Landgraf. “I advocated for our local physicians and hospital administrators to be able to have the flexibility to be able to implement their own visitation rules based on the prevalence of the coronavirus in their area. However, there was little I could do because the current law allowed a state bureaucracy to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach for the entire state without any legislative oversight or public input whatsoever. HB 665 will change that.”

Health and Human Services Commission decided back in March to implement that visitors were not allowed unless they were providing critical assistance to a patient, which meant family members were not allowed to visit critically ill patients that were not suffering from COVID-19.

As the law is now, state agencies are allowed to implement rules without a notice or a hearing if it is felt to be in the best interest of public health and safety.

“The policy that locked them out was not a law adopted by an elected body or even an executive order issued by the governor, it was a decision made behind closed doors by an unelected bureaucracy,” Landgraf continued. “House Bill 665, if passed, will ensure there is sufficient public oversight over state agencies during times of disaster in Texas so that this sort of thing never happens again.”

HB 665 states that state agency emergency rules could only be effective for 30 days but could be renewed if approved by a majority vote of each house of the legislature.

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