Bill Removing Abortion Procedures From Insurance Coverage One Vote Away From Passing Senate

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMarch 23, 2017 11:54 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Wednesday, the Texas Senate gave preliminary approval to a measure that would require women to purchase separate health coverage for abortion.

Senate Bill 20 passed the upper chamber with a vote of 19-10.

The bill would still allow health plans to cover abortions that are deemed medically necessary – but it doesn’t include coverage for women who have been victims of rape or incest.

Before Wednesday’s vote, Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) questioned the bill’s author Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood).

“What are we really after here,” Garcia said. “Shouldn’t we let just the markets decide what coverage insurance companies want to cover?”

“Well, the real focus of this is not necessarily tax dollars, but premium dollars,” Taylor said. “You may understand that a large percentage of our population is against an elective abortion and that procedure. And the idea is offensive to them that they would have to help pay for those that are doing that.”

The bill is one vote away from being sent to the Texas House.

Target is already known for its distinctive ad campaigns, like this commercial featuring Lil Yachty and Carly Rae Jepsen:

Now, the retailer is trying to set itself apart again with a new store concept it’s testing out right here in Texas.

Target picked a new shopping center under construction near Sugar Land for a first-of-its-kind store.

Houston Public Media’s Florian Martin reports that the new Target store will have two separate entrances, one for groceries and the other for home goods and accessories.

Kristy Welker is with Target. She says one of the goals is to serve those customers who want to get in and out quickly.

“We’ll have two parking spaces for guests to park and team members bring their order pick-up items out to them or they can use those spaces for quick 10-minute parking to run in and grab a grocery item real quick and pop out,” Welker says.

Barbara Stewart is a retail expert at the University of Houston. She says that quick access model has a potential downside for Target.

“It’s interesting because that will need to be balanced on the building of traffic that usually occurs from consumers who think they’re coming in to get one thing and then they leave with a cart full of a lot of other things,” Stewart says.

On the non-food side, Martin reports, there will be more consolidated departments to have what is called “cross-merchandising.” The new concept is part of a $7 billion investment in Target stores.

Welker says the Houston-area store will serve as a test model and the goal is to remodel about 600 of Target’s 1,800 stores in the next couple of years.

Members of the Texas House voted to raise the age of criminal responsibility in the state.

The House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee voted Wednesday to increase that age from 17 to 18 years old.

That means instead of being tried as adults, 17-year-olds would enter the juvenile justice system.