Sen. Lois Kolkhorst discussed topics ranging from redistricting to vaccine mandates when she stopped by Tuesday morning’s Victoria partnership meeting, organized by the Victoria Economic Development Corp.
The proposed Senate redistricting will transform Kolkhorst’s District 18, according to the Texas redistricting website. Kolkhorst also discussed Texas Proposition 6 and executive orders and bills related to COVID-19 vaccines.
If Senate redistricting goes ahead as planned, District 18 will lose portions of the Crossroads, Kolkhorst said.
Colorado, Jackson, Matagorda and Wharton counties would be transferred to District 17, according to the proposed redistricting map.
The Senate has passed the new Senate map, the congressional map and the State Board of Education map, Kolkhorst said. The House must now approve the senate map.
Kolkhorst also spoke about Texas Proposition 6, the Right to Designated Essential Caregiver Amendment.
“Prop six is this: Every person that goes into a nursing facility, an assisted living facility or a state supported living center has the constitutional right to appoint an essential caregiver,” Kolkhorst said.
Care facilities would not be allowed to deny access to the person named essential caregiver if the proposal passes. According to a House Research organization analysis, supporters of the bill say that it provides a balance between safety in the facility and ensuring residents continue to see loved ones. Critics say that limiting residents to a single caregiver could prevent other loved ones from seeing their family members before they die
Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order Monday preventing any entity in Texas from requiring vaccines for employees or customers, an order which Kolkhorst said she supported.
“The executive order he put out basically says that you have to observe the exemptions of medical, religious, but also conscience,” she said. “There will be a robust discussion about it.”
Kolkhorst said that while she does believe vaccines are great tools for people in certain age or risk groups, the executive order will allow people the right to forego the vaccine if they’re unsure of the effects of the vaccine on their bodies.
Kolkhorst touched on Senate Bill 968, which bans the use of vaccine passports in Texas. The bill was signed into law in June. Kolkhorst said it was one of the most difficult bills she’s ever passed.
“We’re not going to do that here,” she said. “It still allows businesses to do temperature checks and other checks, but we’re not going to create some sort of QR code where you scan to go and get access to places here in Texas.”