A flurry of legislative activity Sunday night gave life to efforts to overhaul Texas’ voter identification rules — legislation Republicans call crucial to the state’s arguments in a high-profile legal battle over whether the state disenfranchised minority voters. After clearing the Senate in March, Sen. Joan Huffman’s Senate Bill 5, which in some ways would soften current photo ID rules, had languished in the House. But just an hour before the latest in a series of bill-killing deadlines, an emergency declaration by Gov. Greg Abbott helped push the legislation onto the House’s calendar. The bill will be eligible for a vote on Tuesday, the deadline for the House to approve Senate bills.
Meanwhile, a maneuver by Huffman, R-Houston, gave the bill’s proponents a backup plan. She added the entire bill as an amendment to House Bill 2691, which relates to the appointment of election judges for countywide polling places and voter fraud at nursing homes.
The chamber approved the amendment in a 21-10 vote, and tentatively approved the bill 22-9. A file vote would send it back to the House, where members could accept the amendments — if they are seen as relevant to the bill — or call for a conference committee to squabble over differing versions of the legislation.