AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A controversial election bill is likely not moving forward after lawmakers decided not to place it on the debate calendars for the final week of this legislative session.
Senate Bill 9, authored by State Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, would have set up criminal penalties for voters and poll workers for certain election-related issues. There was also a provision that requires drivers who transport at least three people who they aren’t related to for curbside voting to sign a form ensuring they know about those voters’ disabilities.
Hughes said the intent of the bill was to strengthen the elections system and to also create an auditable paper trail. However, voting rights groups criticized the legislation, saying it was aimed at voter suppression. Last week, more than 100 witnesses signed up to testify on the bill during a Texas House Elections Committee hearing. It was eventually voted out of committee.
However, since it’s not scheduled for debate on the House floor this week, there isn’t much chance for its survival. Lawmakers could attempt to revive parts of the legislation through amendments attached to other bills. May 21 is a key deadline for Senate bills to be debated and approved by the Texas House