AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) – While the Texas House comes to a standstill without a quorum, Sen. Bryan Hughes of Mineola said that the “toxic, partisan” culture of Washington, D.C. is invading Texas.
Hughes authored the bill that acted as a catalyst for the Democratic exodus to the nation’s capital: SB 1, his controversial voting measure.
“It’s gotten so partisan and so toxic, to be honest I don’t think a Democratic member of the House or Senate could vote for this bill if they wanted to because of the toxic Democratic stuff coming out of Washington, D.C.,” Hughes said.
The bill would regulate early voting hours, ban drive-thru voting and allow poll watchers to record voters who receive help filling out ballots. It would also become a crime for local elections officials to encourage voting by mail.
“If folks will look at what’s in the bill, they will find simple, common sense reforms that the people of Texas are calling for,” Hughes said.
The bill also expands measures previously only afforded on Election Day. Now, even in early voting, poll workers have to let people vote if they were in line before the polls closed. In addition to that, employers must let their employees go vote even during early voting if their work hours conflict. The bill would also give voters the chance to correct their mail-in ballots if it was received with an error.
With many Democrats gone to Washington, House business is at a standstill. No other legislation can be passed until they get a quorum again.
Hughes said he has received lots of feedback from concerned East Texans in the wake of the turmoil in the House.
“People back home are frustrated, they are,” Hughes said. “They want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to keep this process moving, and here in the Senate we are. We’re working everyday.”
Hughes said that soon, the Senate will have passed every item outlined by Abbott on the special session agenda, though the House will stay stuck while Democrats remain in D.C.
“It’s so sad to see this toxic, partisan, Democratic culture out of D.C. invade Texas,” Hughes said. “It’s no surprise that our Democratic colleagues who fled went to D.C. If that doesn’t show you where the problem is coming from, I don’t know what does.”
Meanwhile, Texas Democrats are turning their attention to federal voting legislation, urging Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act.
Abbott has said that he will continue calling as many special sessions as needed until they can get their job done. According to Texas law, there is no limit on the number of special sessions a governor can call. There is a maximum of 30 days and no minimum for each session. The governor can call back-to-back legislative sessions with no break in between.