News Roundup: Drug Price Transparency Bill Could Be Headed To The Governor’s Desk

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Alexandra HartMay 23, 2019 2:48 pm

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

A bill creating some of the nation’s most transparent policies in drug pricing may soon be headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.

House Bill 2536 would require pharmaceutical companies to explain price hikes any time a drug’s cost rises more than 15% in one year, or 40% over three years.

And the rules would also apply retroactively – so, any increases in 2017 and 2018 would also need to be accounted for.

The bipartisan legislation, authored by Republican Rep. Tom Oliverson of Cypress, passed out of the Senate yesterday.

It needs to pass through the House again before heading to the governor.

Abbott on Wednesday praised the bill in a tweet, saying the measures are quote “great” for consumers

If passed it would put Texas in the company of several other states with strict drug-pricing regulations, including Oregon, Vermont, and Connecticut.

Latino leaders say the country’s Latino population could be vastly undercounted during the Census in 2020. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials released a report that took issue with a controversial citizenship question the Trump administration wants to add – as well as methods used during the national count next year. The group’s CEO, Arturo Vargas, says parts of the Latino community are worried about abuse of their confidential information.  

“We will work to prevent and stop any threat to confidentiality and to count suppression,” Vargas says. “We will be vigilant every single step of the way throughout Census ‘20 enumeration to ensure that every person single person is counted in 2020.”

The report found that undercounting in Texas could have significant financial costs for the state. According to the report, in Texas a 1% undercount could cause the state to lose 300 million dollars each year.

A former Miss Black Texas beauty pageant winner is suing the City of Commerce and its police chief over her 2017 arrest.

25-year-old  Carmen Ponder filed suit this week in a federal court in Dallas, saying her civil rights were violated in the incident.

Ponder was driving to a Walmart in Commerce when she said she passed an erratic motorist. When she parked, the driver, identified as Michael Beane, pulled up beside her and started yelling obscenities. Ponder went shopping in the store, but when trying to leave, was confronted by Commerce Police Chief Kerry Crews – dressed in plain clothes – who demanded she apologize to Beane.

In a video recorded by a bystander, Ponder can be seen explaining what is happening as Crews blocks the exit.

“They stood outside and waited for me to come out from outside. I’m trying to avoid this, they’re blocking the door, he’s like ‘you don’t know you don’t even understand,’” Ponder said.

Ponder was arrested and charged with evading arrest – a charge that was later dropped by the Hunt County district attorney. Crews resigned from his position and now serves as Hunt County Justice of the Peace.

The lawsuit alleges Crews violated Ponder’s Fourth Amendment rights, and that the City of Commerce failed to properly train its officers. Ponder is seeking $450,000 in damages.