On a party-line, 5-4 vote, the House Elections Committee passed Senate Bill 7 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) after a committee substitute replaced all of the bill’s provisions with the text of House Bill 6 by Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park). The bill passed after the committee re-convened following the end of the House floor session. An effort to pass the bill before the House session without recognizing objections or amendments failed when a Republican committee member said he would “pass” on voting on it.

Prior to passing the substituted bill, the committee rejected a series of Democratic amendments on party-line votes, including provisions to permit online applications for absentee ballots, permit election judges to remove poll watchers, require a study of the impacts of the bill on minority groups and address voter intimidation.

The provisions of Senate Bill 7 could be restored either on the floor of the House or by a conference committee, assuming the Senate does not concur in House amendments.

Earlier Story

Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park), without any apparent prior public announcement, brought Senate Bill 7 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) up for a vote in the Elections Committee, which he chairs, with the intent that public testimony not be taken on it. Over Democratic members’ objections, a roll call vote was called but interrupted by a Republican member’s decision to “pass” on the vote and the need to recess for the House floor session.

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