AUSTIN (Nexstar) — State lawmakers in the House’s Elections Committee had a heated exchange Thursday morning after Chairman Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) tried to push a vote on Senate Bill 7 before a hearing on the bill. It’s one of two election regulation bills that have stirred up controversy this session.
“We’ve already heard a complete hearing on that exact language,” Rep. Cain argued, saying the latest version of SB 7 is identical to House Bill 6, which legislators have already heard testimony on and passed in the House.
But lawmakers were only given the latest committee substitute minutes before he moved to vote.
“It’s absolute crap,” Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) said.
“So you’re not gonna recognize the amendments that I offered? It’s bull—-,” Rep. Jessica Gonzalez (D-Dallas) said, as Rep. Cain moved forward trying to get members to vote.
Voting rights advocates immediately pushed back, including MOVE Texas.
“No testimony, no public notice and no public input. We know that democracy dies in darkness. And we have to fight back against these measures to exclude the public from this critical piece of legislation,” Charlie Bonner with MOVE Texas said Thursday.
“For all the talk we’ve heard of election integrity and upholding the public’s trust, why would we go about it in this way that would cause our constituents to question our integrity and the integrity of the legislative process? We cannot do this in the dark,” Rep. John Bucy III (D-Cedar Park) said Thursday afternoon.
The League of Women Voters also expressed their opposition to the move and the bills.
“We need our legislators to do their job of analyzing the bills before them and making informed decisions once they fully recognize the impact of their decisions on the voters of Texas. Both SB 7 and HB 6, if passed, impose heavy restrictions on how citizens can register to vote and cast their ballot in future elections,” Grace Chimene with LWV Texas said Thursday.
After the pushback, Rep. Cain postponed the vote until the House adjourns for the day.