Each week for the next couple of months I’m going to report to you on important progress made during this legislative session. This week the update will focus on election reforms, including “Voter ID”, that were passed by the House and Senate. This session I was proud to serve on the House Committee on Elections; we tackled some very important issues and passed bills that I truly believe will help preserve the integrity of our election process in Texas. The following is a list of just a few of the bills that were passed that address election integrity and process:
SB 14 – The “Voter ID” bill, which I was proud to co-author, requires that an individual show their photo identification prior to voting. This bill ensures that law-abiding citizens’ votes are not cancelled out by those voting illegally and truly helps prevent major fraud in our election process that has been happening for years.
HB 174 – This common sense legislation, which I also co-authored, requires that the Secretary of State cancel the voter registration and eligibility to vote for deceased persons and those that are not citizens of the United States.
HB 360 – This bill requires that when a local taxing entity holds an election to approve the imposition, increase, or reduction of a tax or issuance of bonds, the ballot language must clearly state the dollar amount of bonds to be issued or the amount of the tax or tax rate increase being proposed and any projects to be supported by the bonds. Current law allows a local taxing entity to write proposed ballot language for a proposition in a way that obscures the intended use for the additional funding, and this bill will help fix this ambiguity.
HB 2449 – This legislation makes it illegal to obtain another person’s ballot to be voted by mail. There is currently a shameful practice being conducted in Texas called “vote harvesting”, whereby individuals collect mail-in ballots and sell them to the highest bidder in elections. It’s a despicable practice that must be stopped. HB 2449 strengthens laws to penalize those engaged in vote harvesting.
I look forward to continuing to serve on the Committee on Elections throughout the coming interim. Over the next year and a half, we will conduct hearings and consider additional election related reforms in preparation for the next legislative session in 2013. It is a pleasure to serve you in the Texas Legislature.
NOTE: The bills on this list have passed both chambers of the legislature, but may still not have been signed by the Governor