First of abortion bills heading to Gov. Abbott

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As part of the Governor's special session agenda, this bill will improve the integrity of the ballot box and ensure voter confidence in Texas elections.

Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston) said she was disappointed that the House amended the bill to repeal a new law that passed with bi-partisan support and was signed by the Governor during the Regular Session.

"Texas Republicans have ripped out the only real voter fraud protection that has passed the legislative gauntlet in recent history", Maxey said in a statement.

"What's frustrating is that SB 1 doesn't provide relief, it provides protection, and the last thing I want is property tax payers to believe that we are doing something to reduce or lower their tax burden". And yesterday, almost 1,500 local school superintendents and trustees urged the head of the Senate, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, to support HB 21 as approved by the House. All Democrats except Lucio voted against it.

"I think we need to do what's right for Texans", Simmons said.

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Even the head of the House Freedom Caucus - a group of the chamber's most conservative members who previously tried to attach bathroom restrictions to other pieces of legislation - appeared resigned to not getting a vote on a bathroom bill. Creighton said that had him thinking his bill was one of those most at risk of failing during the special session. "Our goal is to increase the penalties on those who commit such fraud in hopes to deter them from performing those actions forever more".

As a mother, Texan, Board member of the Human Rights Campaign and an ally of the LGBTQ community, I know these bills are unwise and un-American. Straus has previously said he sees such measures as "manufactured" and "unnecessary." Abbott tacked it on as one of the 20 items on his special session agenda. The bill would increase penalties for offenses involving voters older than 65. Misdemeanors will become felonies, and low-level felonies would get an upgrade. The bill, authored by Huberty, also would have created a transitional $200 million grant program over the next two years to help out some school districts that would be hardest-hit by the upcoming loss of a state aid program.

The law is aimed at cracking down on those who target people over the age of 65 for ballot fraud.

Long tied up in committee, the bill advanced out of committee Thursday and is expected to surface for a floor vote.

Dallas Sen. Royce West also criticized a lack of input from Democratic lawmakers, saying their concerns were not considered in the crafting of the bill. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, said senior citizens and people with disabilities deserve the same protection from potential influence as people who vote at polling places. "We have got to keep pressuring lawmakers from now until the minute they gavel out", CEO Chuck Smith wrote on the site. As was the case during the regular legislative session that concluded in May, efforts to pass any sort of bathroom bill - a divisive issue pitting Republicans against business leaders, LGBT advocates, law enforcement and even fellow Republicans - have stalled in the Texas House.

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