Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday defended election proposals which have been criticized for disenfranchising voters if enacted. He additionally condemned what he described as “offensive” language used to debate the invoice.
Patrick held a information convention on the Texas Capitol that adopted a separate information convention held by Senate Democrats, a lot of whom are again from Washington D.C. after leaving the state in solidarity with their Home colleagues who broke quorum final week. The Democrats oppose Home Invoice 3 and Senate Invoice 1, which has already handed within the higher chamber however is stalled with the Home unable to behave.
The payments would bar drive-thru voting, 24-hour voting and prohibit election officers from sending unsolicited mail-in poll purposes, amongst different provisions.
9 Senate Democrats have been in D.C., not sufficient to interrupt quorum, however they’ve since returned to Austin. Rep. Carol Alvarado of Houston, who serves as Senate Democratic Caucus chair, stated the lawmakers wished to “elevate consciousness of the Jim Crow model provisions of Senate Invoice 1,” delay the invoice and advocate for federal voting rights laws.
“With full assist and solidarity with our Home Democrats, the Texas Senate Democrats are able to carry the battle proper right here, again to Austin,” Alvarado stated.
Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat who wasn’t amongst those that went to D.C., referred to as on Gov. Abbott to satisfy with Senate Democrats.
“Let’s sit down as legislators, the chief department, Republican, Democrats, Independents, and resolve this deadlock,” he stated. “The general public expects us to do it, however governor, threatening to arrest us while you, first, don’t have any authority to arrest Home or Senate members is a non-starter.”
Whitmire gave the impression to be referring to Abbott’s current feedback on KVUE associated to Home Democrats leaving the state.
“As quickly as they arrive again within the state of Texas, they are going to be arrested, they are going to be cabined contained in the Texas Capitol till they get their job carried out,” Abbott stated.
Patrick, addressing reporters later within the afternoon, took situation with references to the payments as “Jim Crow 2.0.”
“It’s offensive. It’s robust to sit down down and negotiate with somebody while you’re mainly calling them a racist,” he stated. “So to the Democrats, why don’t you knock that off. Quantity two, give up speaking about voter restriction and voter suppression. This invoice just isn’t about that. They understand it. If there are some points they need to sit down and tweak, sit down on the desk.”
He continued that problems with 24-hour voting and drive-thru voting are “nonstarters.” Each have been measures taken in Harris County in the course of the pandemic.
Senate Democrats earlier this month, earlier than Home Democrats broke quorum, despatched a letter to Senate Invoice 1 writer Sen. Bryan Hughes outlining considerations in regards to the invoice, in addition to additions they’d wish to it, akin to automated voter registration and common vote by mail.
Patrick additionally expressed assist for altering the legislature’s quorum guidelines. Earlier this month expressed assist of quorum being modified to a easy majority plus one by a constitutional modification and asked Abbott to add it to a special session agenda. Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds vote.
“You’ll be able to’t have Republicans or Democrats, both get together, holding Democracy hostage as a result of they’re shedding on a difficulty,” he stated.
It is a growing story. Examine again for updates.