Now that enough Democrats have returned from their jaunt to Washington D.C., permitting the Texas House to have a quorum, on Sunday the Texas House passed Senate Bill (SB) 1, the GOP voter bill that has been targeted by Democrats and leftists across the nation.
The bill was passed by a vote of 79 to 37, which means the bill now goes back to the Texas Senate, which will decide if they agree with the amendments the House added. If they have differences with the House amendments, they can propose a conference committee with the House to resolve their differences, as The Texan explained.
There is a deadline; the special session that Texas GOP governor Greg Abbott call only lasts until September 5. If the Senate does not pass the bill, the whole process of the Senate passing the bill, the House offering any amendments and passing the bill, and sending the bill back to the Senate would need to be repeated in another special session.
“The Texas Senate previously approved SB 1 by a vote of 18 to 11 earlier this month after a 15-hour filibuster by Senator Carol Alvarado (D-Houston),” The Texan noted.
The Austin American-Statesman explained that SB 1 would, among other provisos, require voting between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.; require a video surveillance system to record vote-counting activities; protect the right of poll watchers to observe election activity and make it criminal to deny access to them; install tracking software to monitor electronic vote-counting machines; and require votes to have a driver’s license number of the last four digits of a Social Security number on vote-by-mail applications and their envelopes.
Amendments added by the House to SB 1 included penalizing someone who denied access to a poll watcher with a Class A misdemeanor instead of a Class B misdemeanor. Another amendment requires randomized audits of elections at the county level.
On August 19, the Texas House of Representatives reached a quorum, finally permitting the House to consider a vote on the GOP voting reform bills which had been held up after Texas Democrats fled the state and traveled to Washington, D.C., in mid-July.
The Texas Tribune reported:
The margin was razor thin on Thursday and it was unclear for hours before gaveling in whether Republicans had gotten enough members in the chamber to begin their work. Ultimately, 99 members voted that they were present with 49 stated absences. (The regular 100-member threshold for a quorum dropped to 99 on Thursday after San Antonio Democrat Leo Pacheco’s resignation went into effect.) The House then adjourned until 4 p.m. on Monday after referring a slew of bills to committee.
GOP House Speaker Dade Phelan stated, “It’s time to get back to the business of the people of Texas. I appreciate every one of you. I’m looking forward to working with you over the coming week or two.”
Some Democrats were angry that some of their colleagues had returned to the chamber. Rep. Michelle Beckley, noting that Democrats Garnet Coleman, Ana Hernandez, and Armando Walle had returned, tweeted, “This is how Texas Democrats lose elections.”
One week prior, as some of the Texas Democrats began returning home to Texas, some of the colleagues turned on them with harsh criticism.
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