THU brief 7.8.21
Special session starts
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ELECTION INTEGRITY is back on the legislative block after the House failed to pass an omnibus bill during the regular session.
Last week’s SCOTUS ruling should have eased unwarranted Republican angst over the survivability of passed legislation. Still, there will be Republicans in Austin who prefer to cave to pressure rather than take the opportunity to pass meaningful legislation.
Following the ruling, the left has shifted its critiques of proposed legislation to disenfranchising the disabled. Of course, the legislation has the opposite effect. It is in keeping with the historical efforts of the state lawmakers to reserve some voting practices (i.e., curbside, mail-in) to disabled Texans.
The hyperbolic “restriction” narrative from the left is, as always, fake news. A more accurate description of the vast majority of reforms to the election code being proposed is codifying longstanding election practices upended by partisan election administrators during the 2020 election.
Notably, the overtime election bill filed in the House is authored by Rep. Andrew Murr. During the regular session, the omnibus bill was carried by Rep. Briscoe Cain. That didn’t go to plan.
Still, Murr getting the nod has a save face built-in. During the committee hearing on HB6, Cain vacated the chair of this committee to lay out the bill, and Phelan’s pick to co-chair the committee, Democrat Jessica Gonzalez, took the opportunity to hijack the hearing precipitating a procedural snafu by Cain, which further delaying consideration of the bill.
All of this made passing the bill a heavier lift, one that House Republican leadership balked at in the end only to be bailed out from singularly holding the bag by Democrats busting quorum in
THE FIRST SPECIAL SESSION starts today. Yesterday, Greg Abbott finally released the scope of his call, a list that was longer than anticipated.
Odds are, the Senate will move all of the bills on the legislative docket in short order. MeanwhileSpeaker Phelan is sending mixed messages about how he’ll marshall the session in the House in the House.
Yesterday, House bills matching up to some items on the call were filed. If bill numbers track priorities, election integrity is not the number one issue for the House under Phelan.
Since he killed it during the regular session, this stands to reason, a rumored precondition for Democrat in his 2020 Speaker bid.
As was the case with the disgraced former-Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Phelan was Abbott’s preferred candidate for the top spot in the House leadership.
This begs the question, how unattached to the process is Abbott? He’s called lawmakers back to fix problems with the chamber he exerts control over at regular intervals.
Missing from Abbott’s list of items is ending taxpayer-funded lobbying, another measure with broad support that the House killed during the session.
TAN PARKER is running for SD12 after Jane Nelson announced her retirement from the chamber last week. He’s the first to jump into what will be a crowded field formally. Parker’s colleague in the House, Jared Patterson, has hinted he's exploring a run.
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