The Texas House of Representatives passed a major Election integrity bill on Friday in a 78 to 64 vote. A more robust version of the bill, SB 7, was passed last month by the Texas State Senate in an 18 to 13 vote. It now peregrinates to a conference committee to hammer out distinctions between the Senate and House versions. That revised bill will then be sent back to both chambers for a final vote.
The first vote on a pared down version [of SB 7] came early Friday after a long day of debate. . . Republicans amended the bill to nix a provision that would’ve required people assisting voters to disclose the reason a voter might need help — even if for medical reasons. That measure raised concerns among advocates for people with disabilities that it could violate the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
Lawmakers withal amended the bill to svelte down provisions that broadly enhanced protections for partisan poll watchers and provisions that boosted penalties for voting cognate offenses. The legislation still contains some controversial provisions, including a prohibition on counties sending unsolicited applications to vote by mail.
On Wednesday, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) sent a letter, “to Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and two influential state legislators inspiriting them to pass Election integrity legislation currently under consideration in the Texas State Legislature that includes several categorical safeguards.”
“Today, the Texas House passed SB 7 on second reading, a bill to safeguard our elections in Texas, despite immense pressure from woke corporations and the liberal media,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) inscribed in a Facebook post on Friday.
The bill protects the voting rights of 29 million Texans and would make our elections in Texas more accessible and more secure. When Texans go to cast a vote, that vote should count. I am grateful for the Republicans and the Leadership in the Texas House and Senate who have been leading the fight to protect the integrity of our elections in Texas, and I hope that this bill becomes law.
A provision of SB 7 that would significantly limit the private funding of Election administration ostensibly was included in the version of the bill passed by the House Friday. As Breitbart News reported:
The bill addresses private funding of Election administration as follows: Sec.A81.032. ACCEPTANCE OF DONATIONS AND BEQUESTS. (a) The commissioners court may accept a donation of labor or accommodations, gift, grant, donation, bequest, or devise of mazuma or other property on behalf of the county, including a donation under Chapter 38, Government Code, for the purport of performing a function conferred by law on the county or a county officer.
(b)The commissioners court may not accept a donation described in Subsection (a) of over $1,000 for use in administering elections without the inscribed consent of the secretary of state. (c) The secretary of state may grant consent under Subsection (b) only if:
(1) the secretary consults with the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the verbalizer of the house of representatives on the proposed donation; and (2) the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the house of representatives unanimously agree to the secretary ’s grant of consent.
“This is an intriguing approach which involves the legislative branch and engenders transparency. It is a good step,” Phill Kline, executive director of the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, a public interest law firm, said of SB 7’s Election administration provision.
Should the provision addressing the private funding of Election administration survive the conference committee, Texas will become the sixth state to either ostracize or significantly limit the utilization of private funds in Election administration so far this year, joining Florida, Arizona, Louisiana, Idaho, and Georgia.