After a nearly 24-hour hearing, a House committee advanced the special session’s key election legislation, a provision of which would prevent counties from offering 24-hour voting opportunities.

House Bill 3 by Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Junction) passed out of the Select Committee on Constitutional Rights & Remedies on a party-line vote around 7:30 a.m. today (Sunday). The hearing convened at 8 a.m. Saturday, but public testimony on this bill did not begin until after 1 a.m. Sunday.

This afternoon (Sunday), the Senate State Affairs Committee approved Senate Bill 1 by Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), that chamber’s companion measure to House Bill 3, also on a party-line vote. The opportunity for public testimony on Hughes’s bill was also yesterday (Saturday).

Technically, public input was sought by both committees. The public was given the opportunity to bring their concerns to legislators, and those testifying and registering a position on the bill were overwhelmingly opposed. House Bill 3 was reported without amendments, and eight of the nine amendments adopted onto Senate Bill 1 appeared to have been prepared prior to the hearing. The ninth amendment appeared to resolve an issue raised by MALDEF regarding the process of checking the citizenship of registered voters. Both measures are expected to reach their respective chambers’ floors this week, potentially as soon as Tuesday.

Corrections: In Friday’s report, we inadvertently omitted Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) from a list of House Elections Committee members who are serving on the newly created Select Committee on Constitutional Rights & Remedies. In that same report, we left off Rep. Trent Ashby’s (R-Lufkin) hometown. We have corrected the report online and regret the errors.

Republican Party Chair: Former Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) was elected chair of the state party, succeeding Allen West, who resigned less than halfway through his term to mount a primary challenge of Gov. Greg Abbott (R). He received 34 votes from the 64-member State Republican Executive Committee, defeating David Covey, president of the Texas Republican County Chairmen’s Assoc. and an SREC member, who received 21 votes. Former state party executive director Chad Wilbanks received six votes, and activist Bill Burch received three votes.

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