Texas Senate Amends Bill that Repeals Straight-Ticket Device, and then Passes the Amended Bill

On May 17, the Texas Senate passed HB 25, the bill that eliminates the straight-ticket device. But the Senate amended the bill before passing it, so it must now go back to the House. The amendment provides that the device will be removed starting with the 2020 election, not the 2018 election.


Texas Senate Amends Bill that Repeals Straight-Ticket Device, and then Passes the Amended Bill — 6 Comments

  1. The amendment, which was offered by the Senate sponsor, delays the effective date until 2020. Under the Texas Constitution, a bill can not become effective until at least 90 days after adjournment, unless there is a 2/3 vote in both chambers for the measure (the House does not have a 2/3 majority for the bill). Because of the 90-day rule, most laws have a September 1st effective date. This permits education of the public about new laws, gives agencies time to prepare, and permits newspapers to express their wonderment at the new laws, etc.

    In Texas, the straight-ticket box only applies in the November election of even years. So technically, a September 1, 2017 effective date would only modify the November 2018 ballot. But because filing for the 2018 election happens in early December of 2017, the change in the law could have an impact on candidacies. That is at least the stated reason for the amendment.

    Most of the “debate” was questioning by Democratic senators in preparation of their inevitable lawsuit.

    The vote on 2nd reading of HB 25 as amended was 20:10, apparently on a party-line vote, with one absent Republican. The Senate for ordinary legislation, usually suspends the constitutional requirement of reading on three separate days, but this requires a 4/5 vote. But since they don’t have the votes for that, 3rd reading will likely be tomorrow.

    When the bill goes back to the House, it does not have to go through the full process. HB 25 will be eligible for consideration after the Senate amendment has been printed and is available to the members. The House author can then make a motion about how to resolve the conflict. In this case, it will likely be to concur. Other options would be to request a conference committee.

  2. On Thursday it was passed on 3rd Reading on a 19:11 vote. There were no switches, but the senator who was absent on Wednesday made bail and voted against the bill, and another senator was absent on Thursday. It has been reported back to the House for consideration of the amendment changing the effective date. The House will likely concur.

  3. “. . . the senator who was absent on Wednesday made bail. . . .” Now there’s a comment that catches the attention.

    (Not that I’m trying to cast stones or aspersions. I live in Michigan, home of the not-too-far-past Courser/Gamrat follies among other incidents.)

  4. Sen. Carlos Uresti had been indicted the day before, and turned himself in to the FBI to be escorted to federal court. He would have known he was being investigated since his law office had been raided in February. The bail was $50,000.

    Senators are required to attend sessions, unless excused. On that day the Senate Journal noted:

    “On motion of Senator Whitmire, Senator Uresti was granted leave of absence for today on account of important business.”

  5. On May 20, the House concurred in the Senate amendment to HB 25. After some paperwork back and forth between the two chambers, the bill will be forwarded to the governor for his signature.

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