Austin, Texas – The Texas Restricted Voting Bill that Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s office was about to pass failed Sunday night after Democrats walked out of the House of Representatives before the midnight deadline.
Senate Bill Number 7, known as the Election Integrity Protection Act, was eligible to vote at 4:50 PM on the House calendar. Abbott soon said he would call a special session to try to pass the vote bill again but did not say when.
We have said for many years that we want more people to participate in our democracy. “It seems not to be the case,” said Democratic Representative Karl Sherman.
SB 7 is one of several efforts by the Republican Party in the state’s role across the country to narrow down voting opportunities, particularly in urban counties that tend to vote for Democrats, after Republicans echoed former President Donald Trump’s allegations that last year’s presidential election was stolen. No large scale scams were detected.
The Texas Senate, voting along partisan lines, He approved the sweeping Republican election law Shortly after 6 a.m. on Sunday after an overnight live Democrat-led debate that started 7 and a half hours earlier.
Senate Bill Number 7, known as the Election Integrity Protection Act, was eligible to vote at 4:50 PM on the House calendar.
Democrats He criticized the bill’s limitations, In particular the ban on 24-hour voting and voting by car that was popular with non-white voters last year in Harris County because it disproportionately affects people of color.
“I represent a region with a majority of African Americans, and we have benefited from the car vote you’re trying to ban right now. I feel like you’re coming for my area,” said Democratic Senator Boris Miles, a senator from Houston, adding that the leaders of the FBI and the Department The justice and office of the Texas Secretary of State acknowledged that the 2020 elections were safe, secure and free of fraud on a large scale.
Senator Sarah Eckhart, D-Austin, said SB 7 was an overreaction.
“We’ve had almost no fraud, and that’s been documented at the federal and state level. But instead you’re rewriting the election law,” she said.
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But Senator Brian Hughes, R Minola, defended his bill by Saturday, and was still in it as the sun approached – dismissing claims that the bill targeted non-white voters or that it was a solution to finding a problem.
“The provisions apply equally across the country. They are not limited to a specific group or region,” he said.
Senator Royce West, D.Dallas, objected to the ruling to close polls until 1 p.m. on the last Sunday of early voting, saying that is when “Souls to the Polls” is popular in black churches, when members go to Morning services then go to vote.
“These election workers want to go to church, too,” Hughes said, adding that he didn’t know the genesis of the Sunday hour change because it came from the House.
“Can’t you find this kind of deception?” West responded. “The largest number of people who vote on Sunday are African Americans.”
rush to discuss
The Senate and the House of Representatives passed widely different versions of SB 7, which resulted in the formation of a conference committee to resolve disputes.
This committee’s final version of the bill was introduced and distributed to senators at 3:36 p.m. Saturday. Less than three hours later, Hughes stood in the Senate and proposed waiving the rule requiring a 24-hour delay before the Senate would consider the bill.
Democrats, who were gathering in private to discuss their options only minutes earlier, objected to the pace of events.
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“I would ask that we take the time to understand the changes, to understand all of this before we are asked to vote on a bill that affects every voter in Texas,” said Senator Beverly Powell, Democrat Burleson.
Hughes replied that he intended to give senators a private briefing at 8 p.m., briefing them on a bill that increased from 23 pages to 67 pages in the convention committee — adding that there would be plenty of time to discuss SB 7 publicly during what he expected to be a long and vigorous debate that would not It begins only after ten in the evening to allow more time to study the legislation.
Senator Jose Menendez, a Democrat for San Antonio, said the belated debate will happen when most Texans don’t watch in person or online.
“How did you decide that 10 pm was the right time? Does this seem like the best time to make very important decisions for policymaking after 10 pm?” He said. “Tomorrow we have a whole day to discuss any legislative actions, right?”
But Hughes noted a looming deadline — all of the convention committee’s reports must be voted on by midnight Sunday — and Republicans voted as a bloc to waive the 24-hour delay.
A more expansive bill
The Senate returned to SB 7 shortly after 10:30 p.m. by making a resolution giving the convention committee permission to include items that were not part of bills passed by the House and Senate.
Hughes, who was the conference committee’s co-chair, said many of the sections added to SB 7 were taken from other GOP election bills passed by the Senate or considered on the committee, while other ideas emerged during negotiations with fellow Chairman, Rep. Briscoe Cain, R Deer Park.
Senator Nathan Johnson, a Dallas Democrat, called the decision an affront to the legislative process.
“It sounds like you’re trying to get bills that you can’t pass, or that you’ve thought of another way to do some of the things that many members of this room don’t want you to do,” Johnson said. .
After the Republican majority voted in favor, Senate Resolution 547Senators began discussing SB 7 at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday.
SB 7 would have created at least 10 categories of new or enhanced election-related criminal penalties, including a new offense of vote-gathering for those being paid for total ballots for a candidate or cause, and offenses relating to election workers who They reject proper ballots or count invalid ones.
The bill also sought to protect partisan polling observers, who monitor polling places and vote counting centers on behalf of candidates or political parties, by criminalizing election officials rejecting a specific observer and ensuring that observers are not deprived of “freedom of movement,” as they note.
Hughes described monitors as “the eyes and ears of the public,” but Democrats said they have historically been used to intimidate voters, especially voters of color.
Late night style
Partisan differences have pushed lawmakers into several late-night and early-morning sessions in the past several weeks as Republicans pushed a conservative agenda aggressively at this session.
A heated SB 7 debate pushed the Texas House Board beyond 3 a.m. on May 7, putting the stag into confrontation over the weekend.
A dispute over House Bill 3979 found a Senate vote at 2 a.m. on May 22 on legislation limiting how public school teachers should handle discussions of race and racism in the classroom.
The Senate made sweeping changes to the floor, endangering the bill when House Democrats successfully argued that several of the amendments violated House rules.
With no time to reform the bill by conventional means, Lieutenant Dan Patrick allowed Hughes to submit a motion to back down, an unknown parliamentary maneuver that stripped the bill of all changes in the Senate and passed HB 3979 in its original form to the House of Representatives with the date the party line vote.
Democrats’ objections that the Texas Constitution does not allow bills to pass late in the session have been overturned.
The hearing ends Monday, with lawmakers disagreeing on priority legislation, including overhauling Texas’ electric grid after millions of Texans drowned in cold and darkness during deadly winter storms in February.
Contribution: The Associated Press.