Republican Party of Texas officials are once again sounding the alarm about state House lawmakers failing to advance priority election integrity measures as the regular legislative session draws to a close.
“We have three weeks left in the legislative session, and many Legislative Priority bills are getting close to the Governor’s desk,” said the RPT’s Legislative Priorities Committee Chair Jill Glover in an update on Monday. “They are also at risk of sudden death.”
The 140-day legislative session ends on May 29, but deadlines for moving bills through the process occur much sooner. For example, the last day for the full House to approve House bills is this Thursday, May 11.
“Protect Our Elections is the priority with which we are most concerned,” Glover said.
The Senate has diligently completed the heavy lifting and passed 11 of 24 [Legislative Priority Committee]-approved Senate Bills, while the House has only passed two of 32 LP approved bills. Similarly, the Senate passed 10 of 22 RPT Election Integrity Committee approved bills, while the House passed none of the 31 approved bills.
“The House must act,” she added.
Glover said the party’s highest priority bills are:
- Senate Bill 397 by State Sen. Bob Hall (R–Edgewood) to require early voting tapes be printed when polls are closed,
- Senate Bill 921 by State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R–Mineola) to ban ranked choice voting,
- Senate Bill 990 by Hall to end countywide voting in large counties, and
- Senate Bill 1070 by Hughes to remove Texas from the ERIC interstate voter registration crosscheck program.
SB 1070 was sent to the House Calendars Committee, chaired by State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock), on May 3. Glover urged the committee to put SB 1070 on the House calendar.
The last day for the full House to consider Senate bills is May 23.
SB 397, SB 921, and SB 990 are all awaiting action by the House Elections Committee, chaired by State Rep. Reggie Smith (R–Van Alstyne).
Glover called on Smith to act on those priorities and three additional priority Senate bills:
- Senate Bill 260 by State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R–Brenham) to clarify the process for confirming a voter’s residence,
- Senate Bill 1600 by Hughes to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote, and
- Senate Bill 1938 by State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R–Houston) to penalize voter registrars who fail to perform required list maintenance.
On Monday morning, the House Elections Committee approved three other GOP-priority measures: Senate Bill 1039 by Bettencourt, Senate Bill 1599 by Hughes, and Senate Bill 1807 by State Sen. Drew Springer (R–Muenster). The committee still needs to advance those bills to the Calendars Committee.
Glover also called on House State Affairs Committee chairman State Rep. Todd Hunter (R–Corpus Christi), to take action on two election-related measures:
- Senate Bill 1910 by Bettencourt, allowing public access to election records, and
- Senate Bill 1846 by State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R–Conroe), regulating voting system software.
Each chamber has already passed legislation to restore felony penalties for illegal voting offenses, another Texas GOP priority. But neither House Bill 1243 by State Rep. Cole Hefner (R–Mount Pleasant) nor Senate Bill 2 by Hughes have been scheduled for hearings in the other chamber.
On Saturday, the House passed House Bill 5180 by State Rep. Terry Wilson (R–Georgetown), clarifying that current law allows public access to election records.
Another priority, House Bill 5053 by State Rep. Mano DeAyala (R–Houston) allowing election crimes to be prosecuted in adjoining counties or judicial districts, is on the House calendar for May 10. But the House could consider companion bill Senate Bill 2208 by State Sen. Tan Parker (R–Flower Mound) instead to expedite the measure’s final passage.
No Republican-priority legislation to protect Texas elections has yet been sent to the governor’s desk.
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