Special Session: The Senate State Affairs Committee unanimously approved a bill intended to prevent mail-in ballot fraud. Senate Bill 5 by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) would increase penalties for voter fraud committed via mail-in ballots, particularly for individuals convicted of prior or concurrent election fraud offenses or the victim was a voter aged 65 or older. The bill is expected to be debated on the Senate floor this week.

Redistricting: A two-day remedial hearing may be held in late August or early September, according to a filing in the ongoing federal lawsuit over the state’s federal and state House districts. The state and at least most of the plaintiffs’ attorneys indicated they were available during several stretches of weekdays between August 23 and September 8. A week-long trial concluded earlier this month without an indication of when a ruling or other further action might occur. It is generally believed that the judges do not want primaries to be delayed (as occurred in 2012) or voided and re-run (as occurred in 2006) as a result of any court-ordered maps.

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