On Sunday night, the Texas Legislature came to a screeching halt in the final hours of the legislative session when Democrat lawmakers abandoned the House floor to procedurally prevent the House from completing its business just before sine die. This move prevented an election reform package, SB 7, from being voted on due to a lack of quorum. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board wrote:
As the Texas legislative session drew near its end Sunday, lawmakers appeared set to pass a bill overhauling the state’s elections, until Democrats did one final maneuver: They snuck out of the building. “Members, take your key and leave the chamber discreetly,” a Democratic leader in the state House told his caucus in a 10:35 p.m. text message.
The extraordinary move deprived the House of a quorum, killing the bill for now, at the cost of undermining the legislative process. But what do you expect after months of Democratic alarms about “voter suppression”? President Biden on Saturday called the Texas plan “un-American” and “part of an assault on democracy.” At least this time he didn’t say it’s worse than Jim Crow, which was the political bomb he lobbed at Georgia’s bill.
One of the most prominent provisions of the bill strengthened the state's voter ID law — a proposition that most Texans agree with.
March polling found that 81% of Texans think voting-by-mail should have the same #VoterID protections as voting in-person.— Election Transparency Initiative (@ETI_now) May 30, 2021
It's just common sense. #TXleg
The Editorial Board continued:
The Texas bill isn’t perfect, but no election law is since the exercise involves balancing ballot access, election security, ease of administration, and so forth. The point is that it’s hard to take seriously Mr. Biden’s narrative about an assault on democracy in a state that gives voters two weeks to cast a vote. . .
Look forward, then, to more overheated rhetoric from partisans like Mr. Biden. But remember that his histrionics are intended to give political cover to Democrats in Congress who want to override 50 state election laws by jamming through H.R.1 on a partisan vote. That’s the real voting-law outrage.
Election reform and other legislative priorities that were blocked by the Democrats' stunt are expected to be taken up during a special session:
“Today, on the second to last day of session, a number of members have chosen to disrupt the legislative process by abandoning the legislative chamber before our work was done," [House Speaker Dade Phelan] said in a statement. "In doing so, these members killed a number of strong, consequential bills with broad bipartisan support. . .”
“Election Integrity & Bail Reform were emergency items for this legislative session. They STILL must pass. They will be added to the special session agenda,” [Governor Greg Abbott] said in a post on Twitter. “Legislators will be expected to have worked out the details when they arrive at the Capitol for the special session.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, echoed the call for a special session to pass SB 7 and other Republican priorities that have died in the House.
“The Texas Senate passed all these priority bills months ago and we will again. The TxHouse failed the people of Texas tonight. No excuse,” Patrick tweeted.
RNLA applauds the Texas Legislature for making election reform a priority and looks forward to seeing what they accomplish during the expected special session.