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Inside Texas Politics: FDA commissioner talks about how soon a COVID-19 vaccine could be released

Commissioner Stephen Hahn said he would get an early-release vaccine himself if FDA scientists deem it safe.

DALLAS — FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said whether or not the FDA will use its emergency power to release a coronavirus vaccine before approval depends on the science and the experts.  

When asked if he would get the vaccine himself if it’s released early, Hahn said he would if FDA scientists deem it safe.  

Hahn also discussed the political controversy surrounding the emergency order for convalescent plasma.  

Before his role as FDA commissioner, Hahn served as the chief medical executive at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Hahn said he learned lessons from his past experiences that he’s using those now.

Statewide Headlines

The Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey discusses the possibility of loosening restrictions since COVID numbers are trending in the right direction. Gov. Greg Abbott hinted that he might make an announcement next week.  

But whether numbers continue to trend depends, in large part, on what happens over Labor Day and when kids start returning to “in-person” learning in many large school districts.  

Additionally, Ross and Wheeler talk about how Texas may be undercounted in the census – and it could be significant – and the impending deadline.

Texas congressman to pitch 'Bo's Law' in January

Rep. Carl Sherman (D- Dist. 109) will introduce “Bo’s Law” during the next legislative session. The legislation seeks to address police use of excessive and deadly force.  

Specifically, Sherman says the law would change the Castle Doctrine and require that people actually be in their homes in order to use the Castle Doctrine as a defense.  

He also the bill would require officers to keep their body cameras rolling without exception and add a penalty if officers turn it off.  

Sherman will hold a news conference on the legislation Sunday with lawmakers from other districts expected to attend. 

Tough battle for Congressional district 32

Rep. Colin Allred faces a tough re-election battle but just scored a big endorsement. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed the freshman Democrat, which Allred believes will help him against his Republican opponent, who is running on her business background.  

The money will also be flowing in this district. Genevieve Collins told us last week she’s planning a $2.8 million ad buy in the district. 

Allred says voters should expect to see a lot of him too. He released his first ad this past week.

Reporter Roundtable

Jason Wheeler is joined by Ross Ramsey (Texas Tribune), Abby Livingston (Texas Tribune) and Bud Kennedy (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

The roundtable discusses what can go wrong with mail-in ballots.  Bud will have an article in the weekend paper detailing his problems.  His signature wasn’t clear enough, so they rejected the ballot. He gives tips to Texans.

And they talk about the bus tour across Texas for President Trump. The panel wonders out loud how long it’s been since a Republican presidential candidate had to campaign that hard in Texas and how it might affect down-ballot races.