After months of blustering over whether to do away with a controversial rule allowing 11 senators to block legislation, the Texas Senate on Wednesday voted to keep it — and to remove the ability to make exceptions.
Following a closed-door meeting, senators with little debate agreed 27-0 to leave in place the so-called “two-thirds rule” that requires 11 of the 31 senators to agree before a bill can come up for debate. But they voted to remove a provision added four years ago that allows for “special exceptions” — a change made by Republicans that allowed them to debate a voter-identification bill that Democrats had been blocking
1. This means that the GOP thinks the SCOTUS will strike down Section 5 of VRA
SB 14 (the Texas voter id bill) got through the Texas Senate on the basis of an exception to the two thirds vote rule. Exceptions to this rule were made for voter id in both 2009 and 2011. In 2009, the Texas House was able to kill the voter id law using a procedural trick.
The SCOTUS is hearing the case on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in late February and there is a strong chance that the SCOTUS will strike down Section 5 which will mean that SB14 will become effective. If the SCOTUS does not strike down Section 5, then it is likely that no replacement law could be passed this session.
I really hope that Section 5 survives SCOTUS review.