87th Texas Legislative Session: What happened with voting bills?

One of Gov. Greg Abbott’s priorities was to address the security of elections. Legislators in the Texas House and Senate worked on different bills about elections, but many advocacy groups, including The Arc of Texas, were concerned about provisions in these bills that would make it harder for Texas voters of color and Texas voters with disabilities to vote. Legislators worked to resolve differences between both chambers’ versions of election bills into one bill: Senate Bill 7.

The last version of SB 7 was not released until Saturday, May 29, and it had provisions that the public had not seen, nor most legislators. After hours of debate overnight, the Texas Senate passed SB 7 around 6 a.m. on Sunday, May 30. This did not leave the House much time to consider SB 7, and many legislators said SB 7 would disenfranchise (which means taking away a legal right) millions of Texas voters.

As midnight approached on May 30, Democrats left the chamber so there would not be a quorum, which means enough legislators on the House floor to vote for or against SB 7.  Breaking quorum is allowed, and those who opposed SB 7 said it was the last tool left to block this bad bill. However, Gov. Abbott will call a special legislative session to work on a similar bill or will add it to the list of issues to discuss during the special session later this year. The Arc of Texas will continue to work with our members and allies to protect the civil rights of Texas voters.