If at first you don’t succeed, try again. House Election Chair Briscoe Cain took that mantra to heart in his second attempt to pass the voter suppression bill Senate Bill 7 in his committee. And it worked.
Last night, Cain brought SB 7 up for a vote in his committee for a second time without any public testimony. On a party-line vote, it passed through committee and now heads to a wider vote in the state house. Republicans in the committee also voted down several amendments, including one that would have looked at racial disparities in election investigations.
Cain’s move was blasted by several civil and voting rights organizations. Anthony Gutierrez, the Executive Director of Common Cause Texas issued a blistering statement about Cain, and the “perversion of [the] democratic process” in advancing SB 7. “At a minimum, bills are given public hearings, public notice is given for those hearings and people have a chance to weigh in for or against. Depriving Texans of a public hearing on such a consequential piece of legislation constitutes a flat-out assault on our democratic process,” said Gutierrez.
Rose Clouston, the Texas Democratic Party Voter Protection Director, also issued a statement following last night’s vote. “These are some of the shadiest moves yet from a party hellbent on slashing our voting rights. Republicans have decided to do the work of voter suppression in the shadows, ignoring their constituents’ concerns and experiences. They are abandoning normal procedures because it would be inconvenient for them to hear the outpouring of condemnation from everyone who believes in the foundation of our democracy — voting rights,” said Clouston.
SB 7 is now headed to the Calendars Committee, which will likely set a hearing for the bill on the house floor.