What’s Brewing: Texas Senate panel votes to restore funding for HIV/AIDS drug program

Posted on 01 Apr 2011 at 6:39am
Petty Officer 2nd Class Derek Morado

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. The Texas Senate Finance Committee agreed Thursday to provide an additional $19.2 million that’s needed to deliver life-sustaining medication to low-income people with HIV/AIDS over the next two years. HIV/AIDS advocacy groups issued an action alert Wednesday asking people to call members of the Finance Committee and urge them to restore the funding, which had been recommended for cuts by a subcommittee. The Texas HIV Medication Program currently serves 14,000 people but the number is expected to increase by 3,000 over the next two years. Without the additional funds, the program could be forced to turn people away.

2. A Colorado House committee killed a civil unions bill on a 6-5 party line vote Thursday, after hours of emotional testimony from both sides. Those who testified in favor of the bill included both the partner and the twin sister of gay Rep. Mark Ferrandino, the bill’s House sponsor. But it wasn’t enough to convince any of the six Republicans on the committee to vote in favor of the measure, which had already cleared the Senate. “What makes me saddest,” Ferrandino said, “is there were people on that committee who were, I think, supportive in their hearts but weren’t willing to stand up against the leadership and the far-right fringe of their party.” He added: “It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.”

3. A gay sailor won’t be discharged from the Navy under “don’t ask don’t tell” after an administrative separation board voted 3-0 Thursday to retain him. Petty Officer 2nd Class Derek Morado came under investigation in 2009 after someone in his unit reported a photo on his MySpace page of him kissing another man. DADT, of course, was repealed by Congress in December of last year, but Morado’s case still went forward because the policy remains in effect pending certification of repeal by the president, the secretary of defense and the joint chiefs chairman — followed by a 60-day waiting period. “It really begins to make you question why we’re wasting the money on a hearing like this and also why we’re allowing the military to bully him,” said Director Robin McGehee of GetEQUAL, which assisted Morado.

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