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The Guardian’s Alexandra Villarreal reports:
Texas Republicans passed their bill restricting voting rights on Friday afternoon, after cutting a deal with Democrats in backroom negotiations overnight.
“Nobody deserves to wake up and find out that their rights have been further restricted. But time and time again during this legislative session, that’s what Texans have experienced,” said Wesley Story, communications manager for Progress Texas, a rapid response media organization for progressive messaging.
The Texas house of representatives voted 78-64 to give Senate Bill 7 (SB7) final approval, setting up an opportunity for the Republican-controlled legislature to create a Frankenstein of voting restrictions behind closed doors.
“This is really one of the last straws of … this nonstop attack – on communities of color, on immigrant communities, on communities that just don’t have as much of a voice – to try to prevent them from speaking out,” said Gene Wu, a state representative.
“We’re just tired of our districts being told that they’re second-class citizens.”
Armed with more than 100 amendments, opponents of Senate Bill 7 tore into the legislation on Thursday evening. Their long-winded debate was intended “to drive home the point and to really emphasize that there is no reason for this legislation”, Wu said.
In response, the state house approved a series of amendments addressing some of SB7’s most controversial provisions. Those amendments, in part, target the bill’s severe criminal penalties, along with concerns over emboldening partisan poll watchers.
The legislation will now probably go to a conference committee, where both legislative chambers can reconcile differences in the versions they passed.
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