The Luke Macias Show
The Luke Macias Show
The Battle for Medical Liberty


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Welcome to The Luke Macias Show, what is the good, the bad and the ugly on the issue of medical liberty, and vaccine choice today, I will be joined by Michelle Evans, the Legislative Director of Texans for vaccine choice to overview what happened during the legislative session, what was left undone. And also if this is an issue that y’all care about as Texans, I want you to have the understanding that there are organizations out there working on these issues that you can engage further with, and actually make a bigger impact. Let’s get to the show. So I’m joined today by my friend Michelle Evans, who runs Texans for vaccine choice, Michelle and I met eight years ago at a Starbucks. And we were meeting with a couple people who were all very engaged on the issue of vaccine choice. There was no organization in the entire state dedicated to trying to protect Texans medical liberty. And so we sat down had this conversation about what an organization would even look like you fast forward eight years, and there’s 100,000 organized citizens working on this issue. Michelle, is the legislative director for Texans for vaccine choice was in the capitol almost every single day fighting for these issues. And so I asked her to come on to not only talk about this issue, but also just where how organizations, how grassroots organizations, actively impact the legislative process. So we’re gonna break that down a little bit today. Thank you for coming on, Michelle. So I have already talked to the people to follow our show about House Bill 44, which I think was kind of the biggest victory. So we’ve covered that and huge victory for a lot of Texans who are trying to get pediatric care. also talked about the Cody was suit Bill was it 609. That was the one that allowed business protections for these businesses that are not doing whatever foundry tells them to do. And so talk to us a little bit about any other victories that you saw on the on this issue, particularly and then also maybe where we fell short as a movement. Another bill that passed this session was SB 493. By Senator Brian Hughes, the house companion was by Col Hefner. It protects veterans who were discharged from the military solely for declining the COVID-19 vaccine, which was illegally mandated for our servicemen and women. So it makes them whole for the purposes of State Veterans benefits. We had a small victory somewhat limited in Senate Bill 29, which was lieutenant governor Dan Patrick’s priority COVID legislation to ban local governments from mandating vaccines and masks and business closures or school closures. It passed the Senate clean, went over to the house and got butchered. There were exceptions carved out all over the place. It wasn’t a great experience. But we we highlighted the fact that we have a long way to go to protect the citizens of Texas, not just from COVID mandates or from government COVID mandates, but private employer mandates as well and unlawful employment practices with regards to sick pay and sick leave that came out during the COVID pandemic. I think we’ve seen that. I mean, you rewind three years ago. And if you were to ask the average Republican, do you think that an employer should be able to fire someone for vaccine status? The numbers were not in our favor. I mean, they they were very much so Hey, private business, do whatever you want. And today, the vast majority of Republicans actually say No, I don’t want somebody to be able to be fired from their job due to not getting one vaccine that Fauci or anybody else the CDC has said they have to get and then use them using business owners is like the enforcement mechanism. How have you kind of seen that change over the last several years? Well, Republicans are kind of broadly known as the pro business party. And so there’s been a hesitancy to get into private employment practices for that reason. But with COVID, we saw these businesses becoming de facto arms of the federal government and instituting these unconstitutional mandates for the COVID vaccine for small businesses largely, you know, it didn’t matter the setting. And businesses were acting, even before the federal government got involved. They were, you know, they had pressure from above to do so. And after that, once it was so egregious, and just so obvious to so many people, what was happening, so many Republicans started to come out and say, No, this is wrong. We shouldn’t have to choose between our livelihood and our health or have our private medical decisions be made part of our employment protocols. So it’s been great to see the change. We just, we have a lot of work to do still. Yep. I want to talk about some of the things that were left undone but before we get there, I want to have a slightly more positive question which is really focusing on like you got involved eight years ago, you and I were both in the capitol talking to lawmakers on both sides of the chamber about these vaccine choice medical Liberty issues. And just the entire mood on this issue was completely different. And that has changed pretty drastically in a positive way. So as somebody who was literally there, day one, when these conversations were happening, and now eight years later, I think it would be good for Texas to kind of hear how our issue has come so far in that period of time. For previous sessions, Texans for vaccine choice has been mostly focused on killing bad bills, there weren’t a lot of good bills to support and push through the process. This year, we had a record number of bills that we supported that were filed 60, in fact, and I think less than a dozen bad bills. Yep, killed the all of the bad bills, which is what we’re known to do. Yeah, which is great, but we had four bills passed. But it’s a part a part of our focus is to make sure that citizens the everyday Texan is involved and knows how to have their voice heard. So every action alert that we send out, is really turnkey, we give these activists and advocates an opportunity to come to the Capitol and have a very focused mission. When they visit offices, we do the citizen engagement days, we get into small counties and do speaking engagements. So we try to make it a very friendly process and easy to understand plug and play. So the citizen engagement days, I want you to explain that a little bit for kind of anybody out there in Texas, if they care about this issue, but they got a lot of stuff they’re doing. What do you all do to make sure they can come in for a day and have just an impact on that issue? And then also explain not only what they do, but because you’re there all the time I’m there a lot. How do you see that one day that a citizen comes in actually make an impact, Citizen Engagement days are offered two to three times each session. So it’s an opportunity for people to come from out of town, meet at the Capitol, they get a very quick, briefer on how to visit offices, what to say, people are assigned a role within their group of you know, taking notes or being the front facing person with the staffers or the legislators themselves. And we have typically a very limited focus, like get this bill through committee or vote yes, when it hits the house, or what have you, whatever is happening, that is urgent at that time. And we let them free. And with the feedback, the feedback that we get from legislators is always really positive. We saw your people come in and they were so great. They were so sweet. They dropped off this one pager, we’re definitely putting that into the representatives notes. So it’s always such a positive impact to see people from their district or people from across the state and not just the same faces over and over again, lobbying for medical liberty. I think some people don’t realize the calls they make the emails they send the times they show up, what happens is, let’s say this is a bill that’s in a committee that our hope is to ultimately see on the floor of the Texas House, when it comes time that that vote is going to come up things that have happened regarding that bill, the staff might actually pull up and open up and realize, oh, all the stuff we’ve gotten about HB 44 is all very positive. These people have come we’ve gotten these emails, these calls from these people that we know. Okay, we need to make sure that we recommend that the senator or the representative vote in favor of that. The first thing I ever did in Texas politics was a citizen engagement date. It wasn’t called that it’s called a it was like a legislative day or something from Texas homeschool coalition. So I was like 15. And my dad and mom were like, Hey, you’re going to the Capitol in like two weeks. I was like, what? And so dad and myself and my brother go up. And we literally have like this orientation. I met Tim Lambert for the very first time that gave us this stuff. I like walked into some really senior member now knowing I know what senior because we were like on the ground floor. I just remember being like on the ground floor. Some guy had been there forever. And they’re like, What are you here for? Like, I’m a homeschool student. I like read the one pager they gave me a setback. Thank you, we’ll look at it. So it’s also the way that a lot of people go from doing nothing to doing something and then realizing they can have a bigger impact in the process. So when it comes to the things that didn’t pass now, to some extent you talked about this, that the way more good bills were filed than bad bills. Also something that I think is remarkable is that no Republican Republicans weren’t the ones filing the bad bills. I think there was four price filed one from Amarillo, but in pass our main opponents have been Sarah Davis, Jason V. Alba, the Republican Party has been largely JD Sheffield’s a great example like these are their champions on the other side, whereas a Republican doctor, a Republican, very liberal Republican from Dallas, and Houston and they’re not there and they have not been replaced with people that kind of share their views seemingly and so. Huge victory. There was a lot that fell short. kind of tell us I know that 177 was the big one. So break that down for us, but then all So some of the other bills they’ve even just sat in the public health committee and passed the Senate and so kind of give us a perspective of a couple different bills that fell short. So the biggest Miss was SB 177. The house companion was HB 81. This is representative Brian Harrison’s brainchild. He filed it immediately when he took over the seat at the very end of the third special session in 2021. So this is a passion project of his it’s the Texas COVID vaccine Freedom Act. It codifies informed consent in Texas law and says that, in order to consent to a medical procedure, in this particular case, the COVID vaccine, you can’t be under any undue influence. duress, have your employment at risk, anything that interferes with informed consent, negates it. And so anyone that is putting that pressure or administers a COVID vaccine under those circumstances is performing an unlawful act. And that would have not only protected people from private entity COVID mandates, but also it’s a huge foundation for one which we can build from session to session. So if another pandemic crops up, we can harken back to SB 177. And say this is informed consent, you’re violating informed consent. So it would have been a huge victory for us. But it fell short and the house, the house, dragged its feet and killed it by slow walking it to the floor and calendars committee killed both the House bill and the Senate Bill. In this case, they got both of them, they could have passed one or the other. They seem to sit it wasn’t even like they were trying to give it multiple ways of passing this chamber sat on this piece of policy, the the leadership of the chamber right, were there any other I remember, I can’t remember I know you’ve mentioned a couple. But I feel like there were a couple other good bills that you’re falling at the end that also kind of fell short. There were quite a few Senate bills that were referred over to the house, some to state affairs where a lot of things died, but many to public health. We haven’t been able to confirm what killed them. Ultimately, they didn’t get hearings, but SB 265 By Senator Charles Perry would have mandated that physicians in Texas have to report any potential adverse event related to a drug or a vaccine. So it would mandate them reporting to the various system, which is a federal system. SB 1024, in its original form was a dream of a bill by Chairwoman Kolkhorst because of some maneuvering, some Hospital Association Medical Association maneuvering, it got a little bit watered down, but it still would have been better than the status quo. And that we they tried to get that tacked on to what was actually a bad bill at the very last minute. But the the author of the bad bill on the house sides and representative for price, called it a mauling and did not concur. So a couple things there at the end, but I would say more victories than we’ve seen in the past. And and again, it takes sometimes it’s eight years from the infancy of this organization to where it is today. Even in that first session. You know, you were dealing with a couple 100 people, maybe a couple 1000 people that really cared about the issue, having blown up so large if somebody wants to engage with Texans for vaccine choice, so that they can either be involved in the election season involved in the actual next legislative session there. I know, y’all have worked through the parties to get stronger language in the platforms to push different policies. What are some things that the average person could do if they said, Hey, I care more about the medical liberty issue, the vaccine choice issue? How do they engage, there are a ton of ways for the everyday person to get involved. First thing is to go to our website and sign up for our email lose newsletter, we’ll only send out one to two emails a week. It’s not You’re not inundated. And that will give you ways to get involved within you know, the actual newsletter itself and get our action alerts. Then you can have us come speak in your area, that’s also a huge way to be involved and to get more people engaged. Make sure that you are meeting with your candidates in your house district, your senate district, even down to your city council, Meet the Candidates, meet the incumbents, meet their staff and make sure that you are vetting these people before you vote in about at the ballot box. And we do have special sessions coming. So right now the biggest way to get involved is to sign our petition to urge Governor Abbott to put medical liberty on the call and these future sessions that he has all but guaranteed that he’s going to be calling so in the immediate sense. Signing that petition is the best way to get engaged. That’s great and you always newsletters so many organizations like every newsletter you get I feel like it’s just another ask for money. It’s just another pitch financially right? Oh, we haven’t done this give 25 bucks and yells newsletters are literally Hey, this is what’s going on. This is what you need to be aware of. If you’re looking for forms to get exemptions. Here’s mom’s like, it’s helpful stuff, that the average Texan would need to be engaged to protect their own medical liberty. And so I appreciate it. Well, thank you for coming on. Thank you for overviewing all this, what you do, again, one of the organizations that my wife and I support other people do, that’s why I had you on because we actually care about building up these institutions and groups that can actually protect Texas. So thank you, thank you. Citizens should dominate the conversations around culture and government. And to do that we need to be informed. That’s why Texas scorecard exists. Putting the news in context, we cover the stories that matter to you, the ones that you talk about around the kitchen table, not those dictated by politicians or coastal elites. Our mission is to help citizens move from media consumers, to cultural and political influencers, the issues you care about, covered by people who share your values, Texas scorecard, real news for real Texas. I hope you enjoy that conversation. Sometimes it’s interesting for me to really think back to where I was eight years ago, where the state of Texas was eight years ago, where some of y’all were, I know a lot of my followers, honestly haven’t been engaged in politics for even eight years, some of you have been engaged for a very long time. But many of you who I meet as I traveled all across Texas, or when you email me back or anything else, I realize that you’ve been engaged for two or four years. And so some of the victories that you see even experienced this legislative session, it’s worth acknowledging that some people have literally been in the trenches working on some of these issues for almost a decade. Now, that was very hard to talk about. This is an issue that was very difficult to even get people with you. I remember conversations in the Capitol with lawmakers who would literally almost whisper Hey, I’m with y’all. I’m with y’all, just to let you know, but they didn’t even want to say it loudly. Because the medical establishment in the Republican and Democrat parties combined, had completely made this an issue that you weren’t allowed to have an opinion in regards to preserving the protecting the rights of the citizens in your district to actually decide what got injected in the bodies of their children of themselves. So it’s worth acknowledging it’s come a long way. But also it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating that when a bill that Michelle mentioned a simple bill that says hey, doctors, if you have adverse reactions that your patients experience, when you vaccinate them, you need to report that to the various system. Understand that there are a ton of vaccine injuries that go unreported. Now, why did that bill just sit in Stephanie clicks committee? I don’t know. It’s very strange. That a bill that seems like it would have all the support needed to pass dies simply because of Chairman doesn’t want it to move through her committee. It is strange, it’s frustrating. It’s worth recognizing that there are still a lot of wins to have. Did we get some victories? Absolutely. But are we prepared is the state of Texas posturing itself to say, hey, we’re gonna protect unvaccinated Texans on any and every level. No. And that’s why we’re still fighting. That’s why organizations like Texas for vaccine choice, are still fighting. Guys, if, if you haven’t connected with us recently, please go to liquid, you can sign up to be on the newsletter that I send out once a week, just kind of a notice of the show, I’ll often include different things that might not even be mentioned on the show, but that you should be aware of or stories that you should be aware of. So you can go there and follow along. If you haven’t rated us, we still get new ratings every week. And that’s always very encouraging to read and, and see different people that are commenting either on the YouTube channel, on Apple podcasts on Spotify, and actually saying, Hey, here’s what I’m learning, or Oh, I’m just finding this show. I’ve been catching up on previous episodes. So thank you for all of you who continue to do that and share it back with us. It’s encouraging and keeps us making this content. But just leave a review on the podcast, please do just right there about Texas politics and how you get your information here that helps us so that when other Texans are out there searching for where they can find information on what’s going on in politics and government, they can find our show as well. Thank you for all you do to continue to be engaged on advancing the issues that matter for our state. May God bless you and may God bless Texas. Thank you for listening to the Luke Misia show. To find out more information about what’s going on here in Texas, visit Texas

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