Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Texas Voter Photo ID, The Next Step

Texas lawmakers are back to work from Easter break with 27 days left in the 2009 legislative session to move bills out of committees. Monday, May 11, 2009 is the last day for Texas House committees to report house bills and house joint resolutions.

Last week hundreds gathered in Austin to make comment on the voter photo ID bill (SB 362) before the House Elections Committee. The Texas Senate already passed Senate Bill 362 on Mar 17, 2009 in a party line vote. Sometime in the next 27 days the House Elections Committee Chaired by Euless Republican Todd Smith, who supports the bill, will vote to pass the bill out of committee to the house body for floor debate in a probable party line vote of 5 Republicans for and 4 Democrats against the bill.

SB362 would pose untold hardships on senior citizens, minorities, rural residents, high school students who turn 18 during the school year. During public comment on the bill before the House Elections Committee Republican Senators Dan Patrick, Tommy Williams and Steve Ogden verbally attacked Daniel Kohrman, Senior Attorney for AARP, during his testimony against the bill. They called him a liar and a political hack. They challenged him to name one Texas AARP member whom he represented. (Of course, Mr. Kohrman didn't have an AARP Texas membership list with him.) They claimed that ALL their elderly constituents favor SB362. They accused Mr. Kohrman of lying about a brief that the AARP prepared on the voter ID issue.

Harris County Tax Assessor Leo Vasquez is under fire this week amid accusations that staffers from his office misled the House Committee on Elections during testimony on a controversial voter identification bill last week. The Texas Capitol Annex has more:

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