OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinion
The controversial SB-1 Texas election legislation that prompted over 50 Democrats to flee the state in an attempt to prevent it from passing has finally advanced, severely diminishing Democrats’ chances of killing it.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has made a bill a top priority for his office and vowed to sign the bill as soon as it advances to his desk.
Texas Republicans passed the bill in the state’s House of Representatives on a 79-37 vote, which was mostly along party lines. The vote went through after the Democrats returned to the chamber last week, allowing Republicans the ability to resume quorum and hold the vote.
The state’s House has held two special sessions since the regular session in May ended with several dozen Democrats fleeing to Washington D.C. to deny their Republican colleagues a quorum to prevent the bill from passing. More than 50 Democrats fled the state, flying off in a high-profile and widely-publicized departure to call on Congress for voting rights legislation.
According to Fox News, the U.S. House of Representatives passed federal voting rights legislation on Wednesday that congressional Democrats have dubbed “progress” in their effort to fight back against election integrity bills advanced in Texas and other states. However, Democrats do not have the votes necessary to overcome opposition from Senate Republicans, and the bill will likely die in the process.
Texas Republicans argue that the election integrity bill bans things like drive-through voting and places some restrictions on mail-in voting, to make voting safer amid public concerns over irregularities and fraud. Texas Democrats, meanwhile, claim that the legislation is voting suppression aimed at hurting minorities.
Following its advance in the Texas House, it will now return to the state Senate, which already passed a similar bill, leaving Democrats out of options to prevent its passage.
Texas Democrats attempted to alter portions of the bill before its passage in the House, making attempts to soften the bill, arguing that it would disproportionately impact people of color. Their efforts were rejected by House Republicans.
According to ABC13, the debate got so heated that it prompted House Speaker Dade Phelan to instruct lawmakers and people in the gallery to behave – and to stop accusing each other of racism. The word “racism” came into play when the bill was being debated, which sparked a reaction by Phelan who told lawmakers that the word was now banned from use in the chamber.
“We can talk about racial impacts with this legislation without accusing members of this body of being racist,” Phelan said.
Democrats disagreed, arguing that it was necessary to use the term because they argued SB-1 was suppressive and greatly impacts minorities. They also claim the entire bill is racist, arguing that they used the term “racist” to describe the bill and not their individual colleagues who wrote it.
“Wow. The Speaker just asked us to not use the word ‘racism’ during debate today. SB 1 will harm the freedom to vote for all Texans, but it will disproportionately impact people of color. That’s racist, no matter how you dress it up. Period,” state Representative Erin Zwiener, who represents the 45th district, wrote on Twitter.
Zwiener added in a follow-up post, “Coddling R legislators who are uncomfortable about how this bill hurts people of color is not our job.”
Julián Castro, former mayor of San Antonio, responded: “Republican Texas House Speaker @DadePhelan thinks it’s uncivil to talk about racism. What’s uncivil is pretending it doesn’t exist.”
During the debate, state representatives Rafael Anchía and Gina Hinojosa discussed instances where the federal courts found past Texas laws intentionally discriminated against people of color.
“Intentional discrimination against people of a certain race. Is that racism?” Hinojosa asked, prompting audible responses from the members gathered.
Speaker Phelan responded later, saying: “We can talk about racial impacts of this legislation without accusing members of this body of being racist.”
The debate on the bill reportedly lasted a total of 90 minutes, with the majority of the debate spent on amendments. Nearly 70 amendments to the bill were proposed, with Democrats drafting the majority of them. Debate on those amendments lasted for some four hours, concluding in a vote on 30 amendments at the end of Thursday.
Article Source : Conservativebrief.com