In Texas, newborn hearing screening was mandated in 1999 through the passage of House Bill 714. In 2011 the mandate was expanded through House Bill 411 and Senate Bill 229. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is the oversight agency.
James T. (Jim) Walsh, US House Representative from 1989 – 2009, was active in the passage of the first nationwide act that guaranteed hearing screenings for newborns and infants. In 1991, Walsh sponsored and introduced the Hearing Loss Testing Act. The Newborn and Infant Screening and Intervention Program Act was authored and sponsored, mainly, by Walsh in 1999. On March 11, 2009, the act was renamed as the James T. Walsh Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program, and was identified within 42 United States Code 280g-1. The Act is for “the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment regarding hearing loss in newborns and infants,” and included several provisions so that these endeavors would be accomplished.
Since that time, Congress has expanded and reauthorized the original Act. Current legislation, known as the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act 2010, was approved and signed by President Obama on December 22, 2010. In 2015, the US House of Representatives proposed amended legislation to reauthorize a program for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment regarding deaf and hard-of-hearing newborns, infants, and young children.