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Texas Legislature

             Senator Shapleigh has introduced Senate Bill Number 491.
             assess the existing school-based mental health and substance abuse programs. This .
             assessment will allow further development for programs that would include .
             incorporating information regarding substance abuse prevention, mental health .
             education, and access to related services that may be available. This bill was .
             referred to the Texas Education Agency who is responsible for tracking the progress .
             of this assessment until January 11, 2005. No hearing was held for this bill. .
             However, S.B. 491 was put into effect immediately following the Senate and House .
             voting sessions on May 12, 2003. The Senate passed it with 30 yeas and 0 nays. .
             The House of Representatives passed this bill with 146 yeas and 0 nays with two .
             members being absent for the vote. I believe that the author was trying to figure out .
             the effectiveness of the programs listed above. With this assessment, the legislature .
             can have a better understanding of what changes need to be made. I think this bill is .
             a wise idea because mental health is very important. I would support this with no .
             doubt. By dealing with the issues of mental health, society as a whole will benefit. .
             Senator Shapleigh was also the author of House Bill Number 286. This bill .
             would allow students to be exempted from sales tax when purchasing college .
             textbooks. Some restrictions would apply to this bill. For example, the textbooks .
             must be written for educational purposes and bought by full or part time students .
             enrolled at an accredited college or university. In addition, the student must be able .
             to provide a valid student identification card when purchasing their textbooks. No .
             committees were listed for this particular bill. To my knowledge, no hearing was .
             held. This bill was signed by the governor on June 20, 2003 after passing a .
             two-thirds vote by the House of Representatives and the Senate. I think that .

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