This post had been updated to reflect Gov. Abbott’s subsequent actions on these bills.

The 85th Legislature, Regular Session has adjourned sine die. While there are rumors of a special session in the air, one is not likely to include election-related issues. Redistricting has already been taken off the table, according to a recent court filing in the ongoing litigation over the state’s congressional and House maps.

Here we explore the fate of election-related issues we highlighted two weeks ago:


Voter ID: The House adopted the conference committee report for Senate Bill 5, the Voter ID fix, on Sunday by a near party-line, 92-56 vote, following the Senate’s approval on Friday. The bill heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. No House Democrats voted for the conference committee report, and Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) was shown voting no. Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville) was the lone Democrat to vote for the bill in the Senate, and he signed the conference committee report. The bill now goes to Gov. Greg Abbott.

Update: Gov. Abbott signed the bill into law on June 1.

Rep. Ron Simmons

Rep. Ron

Single-punch Voting: On May 20, the House concurred in the Senate’s amendment to House Bill 25 by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton), sending the measure to Gov. Abbott’s desk. The bill would end the practice of voting for all of a party’s candidates using a single punch, mark or other action. Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), the bill’s Senate sponsor, added an amendment delaying implementation until 2020, and it was the amendment the House voted to accept.

The unofficial final vote was 89-45 in favor of concurring. The ayes included several Democrats and Republicans who opposed the measure earlier this month. Democratic Reps. Ina Minjarez (D-San Antonio), Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville), Mary Ann Perez (D-Houston), Joe Pickett (D-El Paso), Richard Raymond (D-Laredo), Shawn Thierry (D-Houston), Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) and Hubert Vo (D-Houston) voted for concurrence. Of those representatives, only Pickett previously voted for the bill.

Reps. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake), Lance Gooden (R-Terrell), Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs), Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth), Larry Phillips (R-Sherman), Mike Schofield (R-Katy) and Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) voted against concurrence. Gooden, Klick, Phillips and Schofield previously voted against the bill.

Update: Gov. Abbott signed the bill into law on June 1.

Note: Jeff Blaylock, publisher of Texas Election Source, is on record as being in favor of House Bill 25.

Effect of Felony Conviction: The Senate concurred in House amendments to Senate Bill 500 by Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano) on May 22, sending the bill to Gov. Abbott. The bill would make elected and certain other public officials ineligible for public service-retirement annuities if they are finally convicted of certain felonies including bribery, embezzlement, perjury, tampering with governmental record and abuse of official capacity. A final conviction would result in the public official vacating the office. House amendments dealt with the ability of a court to award the forfeited pension to a spouse as part of divorce proceedings.

Update: Gov. Abbott signed the bill into law on June 6.

Priority for Mobility Disabilities: The House concurred in Senate amendments to House Bill 658 by Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) on May 24, sending the bill to Gov. Abbott. The bill permit election officers to let people with mobility-impairing disabilities (and their assistants) vote ahead of others in line at a polling station.

Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) amended the bill in the Senate to include the provisions of her Senate Bill 2149 establishing a process by which election judges will deliver mail-in ballots to assisted living centers from which at least five mail-in applications were received. The judges would assist the voters, serve as witness and deliver the sealed ballots to the early voting clerk.

Update: Gov. Abbott signed the bill into law on June 15.

Runoff by Mail: House Bill 2410 by Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin) passed the Senate on Sunday and is headed to Gov. Abbott. The bill would permit a primary runoff to be conducted by mail if fewer than 100 votes were cast in the county’s primary election and no county-specific offices were on the ballot. As far as we can tell, this bill could create the first election in Texas held entirely by mail.

Update: Gov. Abbott vetoed this bill June 15.

Did Not Pass

Redistricting: Neither chamber convened a hearing on the subject.

Binding Electors: None of bills that would have required Texas presidential electors to vote for the presidential candidate receiving the most votes in the state passed. House Bill 543 by Rep. John Raney (R-College Station) was placed on the general state calendar but was not acted upon by the deadline for House floor action.

Expanded Voter IDs: None of the bills that would have expanded the list of acceptable photo identifications passed, and none were added to Senate Bill 5 as amendments. The only “expansion” was an amendment clarifying that a U.S. passport means either a passport book or card.

Closed Primaries: None of the bills would have required voters to be or become affiliated with a political party to participate in their primary nominating processes passed. None received a committee vote.

Early Voting Reductions: None of the bills that would have reduced the number of days for, or made other reductions in the availability of, voting early on person passed.