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TAB Seeks News Reports Leading to Legislation and Policy Change

TAB is asking station newsrooms to alert them to any legislation under consideration by state lawmakers this session that has been spurred by their reporting as a key measure of the industry’s impact and very often a barometer of the health of Texas’ sunshine laws.

TAB knows that local stations’ news teams work not only to keep the public informed, but also pride themselves on being agents of positive change benefiting their community.

Sometimes news reporting leads to legislation impacting the entire state.

TAB wants to identify such issue reporting to make a case with policymakers as to the importance of public information and its impact on the lives of all Texans.

For example, St. Rep. Julie Johnson, D-Farmers Branch, told KXAN-TV Austin last month that she filed a “meaningful patient safety bill” in direct response to a series of KXAN investigations into the issue of problem doctors still practicing medicine in Texas.

The station found nearly 50 Texas doctors who had licenses suspended, surrendered or revoked in other states, yet the physician’s Texas Medical Board public physician profile showed them as having a clean record.

“KXAN uncovered a problem, brought it to my attention,” Rep. Julie Johnson, D-Farmers Branch, told the station. 

The result is HB 1998, a bill that protects patients and enhances transparency and accountability to the public which finances medical licensing in Texas.

The bill would “require the Texas Medical Board to continually search the National Practitioner Data Bank for up-to-date physician disciplinary and criminal records — ensuring both that they are made public faster and stopping doctors with licenses revoked in other states from practicing in Texas.”

The House Public Safety Committee approved a committee substitute for HB 1998 last Thursday and the bill could see a floor vote before the end of the month.

TAB is certain there are other good examples out there and wants to know about them.

Does your station have an example or examples?

If so, please let us know by emailing TAB with story links and any additional background that would be useful.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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