At a press conference today (Tuesday), Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) expressed anger over business leaders’ and political opposition to election legislation passed by the Senate on a party-line vote last week.

“Senate Bill 7 is about voter security, not about vote suppression,” Patrick said. “I’m tired of the lies and the nest of liars who continue to repeat that.”

Senate Bill 7 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) would restrict counties’ efforts to expand access to voting, place new requirements on volunteers assisting and transporting voters, permit the recording of voting and vote counting, and add various new criminal penalties while enhancing others.

Patrick described the bill as enhancing election security, establishing paper backups of ballots cast electronically, making voting rules consistent across the state, strengthening measures meant to prevent and punish voter fraud and ensuring absentee ballots only go to those who are statutorily eligible.

“Americans no longer trust the system,” Patrick said, alluding to views of the 2020 presidential election that have been shaped by unproven allegations of massive voter fraud impacting the results (in other states).

Patrick accused business leaders of “meddling” in election issues and warned them to stick to “policy that may have an impact on your business like regulation, financial issues and tax issues.”

The bill’s opponents contend that it will have discriminatory effects on minority, disabled and non-English speaking voters. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has called the bill “Jim Crow 2.0” and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo (D) said the bill reflected a history of harassing minority communities to keep them from voting. “We’ve seen this movie before,” she said.

Patrick demanded a stop to “this race-baiting on every issue” as he denied the bill would reduce voter participation. “Election security is what the public wants.”

Senate Bill 7 has not yet been referred to the House Elections Committee, which may approve a similar measure, House Bill 6 by Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park), at its Thursday hearing.

DCCC Targets: As part of its initial national list, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced it was targeting CD23 and CD24, which were won by freshmen U.S. Reps. Tony Gonzales (R-San Antonio) and Beth Van Duyne (R-Irving) in 2020. Two years ago, Democrats initially targeted six seats before expanding the list to 10. All 10 districts were won by Republicans.

In February, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced it was targeting five seats in Texas, including three South Texas seats.

Fort Worth: U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) endorsed Deborah Peoples.

San Antonio: Mayor Ron Nirenberg has a commanding lead over former council member Greg Brockhouse, but the two may still end up in a runoff, according to a new poll conducted for KSAT-TV and the San Antonio Report. Nirenberg leads Brockhouse, 53%-18%, among likely voters and 56%-21% with leaners. Nirenberg’s strongest support comes from Democrats – 84% said they intend to vote for him – while Brockhouse leads among Republicans, 49%-20%. Independents favor Nirenberg, 45%-23%. The poll has a ±4.0% margin of error.

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