A new bill sponsored by state Rep. Glen Casada, who represents southeastern Williamson County, aims to increase transparency in the reporting of COVID-19 data from county health departments.
Filed for introduction into the state House of Representatives on Jan. 21, House Bill 370 would mandate that county health departments not only continue to regularly release data on the number of positive and negative COVID-19 tests given, but also release the number of symptomatic and asymptomatic cases.
Casada had envisioned increasing COVID-19 data transparency back in November of 2020 shortly after winning re-election, with the bill only now coming to fruition.
"It sounds simple in scope, but I think it would put a lot of people's mind at ease," Casada said. "Transparency always gives a peace of mind, and I think that's what we're lacking on this COVID-19 thing. We hear these numbers about people who have tested positive, but how many of those are actually sick? We don't know, they don't report that."
The bill would also create a committee that would determine when and how quarantine and disease communication tracking procedures should be implemented, removing the authority to do so from county health officers.
That committee, which would be disbanded once a state of emergency is no longer in effect, would be comprised of the governor, state Senate speaker, and the state House speaker, among others.
House Bill 370 is not currently scheduled for any hearings, but is expected to see further discussion in the near future.