Texas state senator says deal on controversial election bill ‘very close’ – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – After Texas House-Senate negotiations over a controversial election bill, a deal could be reached in the next few hours.
State Senator Bryan Hughes, of Tyler, said Friday afternoon that members of the House and Senate hoped to announce agreement on a final version of SB 7 by the end of the day.
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Among other things, the legislation will prohibit counties from sending unsolicited postal ballot requests and establishing 24-hour voting and drive-thru voting, as Harris County did in November.
The bill will also establish rules for election observers.
Republicans and Democrats had strong differences over the bill.
Democrats call it a voter suppression bill, while Republicans say it is necessary to prevent fraud.
Lawmakers will work over the holiday weekend, as the regular session ends on Monday.
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Negotiations also continue on SB 3, a big bill aimed at preventing the deadly February blackouts from happening again.
Among other things, a statewide alert system should be put in place to notify the public in the event of an interruption in the power supply.
Generators and other facilities would also be needed to winterize their equipment.
A source close to the bill said one of the main sticking points is whether wind and solar energy providers will need to provide additional generation in an emergency.
Other bills currently being negotiated would allow the state to provide low-cost loans to power cooperatives and other power producers to finance wintering projects.
Gov. Greg Abbott warned lawmakers after the February blackouts he wouldn’t let them leave the Capitol if they didn’t fix this issue.
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Lawmakers are still considering the final version of a bill that would allow school districts to be fully paid for providing virtual learning to students next fall.