SAN ANTONIO – The standoff between Texas Republicans and Democrats continues after the Democrats broke quorum last week and headed to Washington D.C. to prevent the passage of a GOP voting bill.
This weekend on Leading SA, Republican Rep. Steve Allison and Democrat Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins joined us live to discuss the voting bill, D.C., and what could come next.
“Basically, it’s a voter suppression bill. You know, one thing about it is that for me, I reflect back on my forefathers, mothers and how they fought to give us the opportunity to vote. So when we’re looking at the bill that’s out there as Senate Bill One, we’re looking at challenging mail-in ballots, eliminating or reducing hours to vote, criminalizing people. And our colleagues just wouldn’t even listen after hours and hours of testimony. They would not listen to the folks who come from all across the state of Texas to beg for their right. So we had to go,” Rep. Gervin-Hawkins said.
The Democrats fled Texas to stop HB 3 from getting signed into law this special session, but Representative Steve Allison argues that this bill is not suppressive.
“I’m kind of taken aback. It’s like we’re talking about two different bills. And I disagree strongly with the assessment and I understand the historical problems that we’ve encountered in this country. But we’re here today,” Rep. Allison said. “I don’t know where the dialog comes up that the voting hours are being decreased. They’re being extended.”
Representative Allison actually brought a copy of the bill into the interview and read off some of the stipulations he felt were important.
“Provides for the first time that if you’re in line in early voting when the polls close, you still get the vote that currently exists on Election Day. House Bill Three provides an extension to provide that in early voting as well. It also provides that your employer cannot punish you or do anything to disable you from voting during early voting. Currently, just on Election Day, House Bill Three extends that to early voting as well and addresses poll watchers,” Rep. Allison said.
On Saturday, news came out that three of the Democrats who went to D.C. tested positive for COVID-19, and Republican Briscoe Cain insinuated that may be a ploy to further suspend the voting bill being passed.
“First of all, I want to say the three that tested positive are doing well. The good news is they were vaccinated. So by having the best nation, they have the minimal to no symptoms. That’s number one. So they’re doing well. Number two, it’s not a ploy to anything. This is serious business. When you talk about hampering the right to vote and access the vote, that’s a problem. So this is not a ploy. This is not a game. This is serious business. We need universal voting rights and laws and not every state cherry-picking what they want to do,” Gervin-Hawkins said.
As for what comes next, Rep. Allison said he is very confident the bill will get passed.
“The governor has made it very clear he’s going to keep calling special sessions. They have to go all the way up to the 2023 next session,” Rep. Allison said.
You can watch the full Leading SA interviews in the video player above.