AUSTIN, Texas - After hours of special session hearings spanning two days, Senate and House committees moved forward Sunday with new voting legislation.
SB1 and HB3 are similar to Senate Bill 7, which failed to pass during the regular session when House democrats walked out at the last minute.
The bills would ban 24-hour voting and drive-thru voting, though they allow for curbside voting for the disabled. The legislation would also require someone to request a mail-in ballot in order to be sent one.
"Even Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives, they agree that as it concerns mail-in ballots, that is an area where improving the mail-in ballot system is a way to achieve greater election integrity," said Governor Abbott during a Sunday morning interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News. "So what Texas is doing is we're making it easier to vote by adding more hours of early voting than we had in current law, but also making it harder to cheat with regard to mail-in ballots."
However, House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Chris Turner released a statement following the vote that said in part:
"Early this morning, Republicans voted to advance a bill to ban 24-hour voting, following an overnight committee hearing that lasted nearly 24 hours. You just can’t make this up: Republicans are passing anti-voter legislation overnight to prohibit Texans from casting a ballot overnight."
The voting legislation is the first item to be taken up on an 11-item special session agenda. Legislators will also discuss critical race theory legislation and legislation that would impact what sports teams transgender youth can compete on.
"The Democrats decided to abandon their job and walk off the job and did not give us the time to get those other items across the finish line," said Governor Abbott on Sunday. "So all we're trying to do is to continue to achieve exactly what we were trying to achieve during the regular session."
Missing from the agenda is any legislation related to the power grid, which has sparked outcry from democrats.
Texas Legislature Special Session agenda released by Gov. Abbott
Texas House Democrats stage walkout to block controversial GOP voting bill
Special session has begun at the Texas Capitol and tensions are heavy