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Showdown in Texas when GOP tries again to pass the voting law



But it is not clear whether a strike would be successful a second time. Members on both sides of the aisle have been warning that all options are on the table to ensure that electoral law becomes law – or not. But in any case, Republicans intend to implement the electoral law quickly, which means that a potential strike might take weeks, not hours, to be successful.

Republicans in both houses passed electoral law almost immediately at the start of Thursday’s special session. The bills contained many similar provisions as SB7, the electoral law that failed earlier this year and would have added several new restrictions on voting in the state.

You want to move quickly. The State Senate and House committees have both scheduled hearings on electoral law for Saturday morning, and Republican leaders in the state insist that it is a top priority after their earlier failure. “We are ready to pass all laws” [GOP Gov. Greg Abbott’s] Call for a special session, starting with # SB1 – election security, “tweeted Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican who is also the chairman of the State Senate.

Republicans, who are working on bills, which are similar but not identical in both houses, believe the party will be able to avoid the power struggles that failed its attempts during the regular legislature.

“I think we have Republican approval in both houses,” said GOP State Representative Jacey Jetton, who sits on the House of Representatives Electoral Committee and oversees electoral law.

He noted that due to the negotiations in the regular meeting, all further discussions are talked about this time could be accelerated. Republicans also hope that a conference committee to merge the two bills and other procedural hurdles will not hold them back this time around.

“There is a lot of blame as to why this last session was not completed. But I think one of the factors was the ticking of the clock, ”said Travis Clardy, another Republican on the select committee. “It’s like watching a soccer game and the team is moving the ball, but the clock goes to zero before you reach it in the end zone. That happens in politics. So maybe we need to brush up on our watch management skills. “

“What is different here is the procedure, we will continue tomorrow … our third day of a 30-day special session. So we have more than enough time to pull it off, ”Clardy continued.

Both men said the bill could take place in the state plenary hall as early as next week, depending on whether a committee vote takes place this weekend.

The Senate-side version of the new bill retained provisions banning drive-through and 24-hour early-morning elections – two practices that were tried out during the pandemic by the increasingly democratic Houston-based Harris County – prohibiting election officials from voting by post at large Scope and adds new ID requirements to requests for a postal vote. It also maintains proposals for the introduction of a range of criminal and civil sanctions against election officials.

Some of the more controversial provisions of SB7 did not return, at least in the first draft of the bill, such as effectively banning Souls to the Polls events – popular in black churches – and setting a lower standard of evidence to avoid a fraud allegation election. Republicans have since chalked this up as a drafting error in a time constraint, but the Senate bill author defended the Sunday voting restrictions on the floor at the time.

The Austin Democrats promise to speak out against the electoral law throughout the session. They also hope that staging another fight would get the Democrats in Congress to go ahead with the For the People Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act. Both bills face a weak future in Washington. The Democrats don’t have 50 votes in the Senate on the For the People Act, with Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) calling for a smaller package, and both bills would face Republican-led filibusters.

“We’re going to fight with all our might here in Texas. We hold the line, ”said Trey Martinez Fischer, the Democratic State MP who led the first working rainfall and was also on the delegation that visited Washington. “But we need our federal men and women, the United States Senate, to strengthen itself.”

The Texas Democrats are openly debating the possibility of another strike or disruption in an attempt to stop the election proposals in the special session and attract attention.

“All of these options are on the table,” said Martinez Fischer. “The first strike in May was not a vanity exercise.” When asked whether the potential for prolonged absence from work had changed anything compared to May, he replied, “It doesn’t do it at all. Just an extra pair of socks. The Democratic Group is more united than ever and our resolve is pretty strong. “

But Republicans are very much aware of the threat this time around. “My Democratic colleagues were quoted as saying that all options were on the table,” said Dade Phelan, spokesman for the US House of Representatives, in an interview with KXAN. “For me, too, all options are on the table.” Phelan’s office didn’t respond to a question from POLITICO asking about these options, but the state house rules allow the speaker to lock the doors and miss the Sergeant-at-Arms, which he didn’t pursue as Die Democrats went out during the regular session.

But angry Democrats will not be deterred. “I don’t care if the Republicans know I’m going to break the quorum,” said Johnson. “How are you going to stop me?”

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