Jul 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Texas legislature convenes for special session on voting rights

Picture of the Texas state capitol

The Texas State Capitol. Photo: Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images

The Texas legislature convened on Thursday for a special session requested by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to consider a collection of conservative priorities, including new voting restrictions, the Washington Post reports.

State of play: State Republicans in the House and Senate introduced new bills that would ban drive-through voting and would make it a crime for election officials to solicit mail-in voting applications.

  • They omitted a portion of the previous bill that said Texans couldn't vote before 1 p.m. on Sundays, which would have blocked "souls to the polls," a tradition in Black communities that encourages people to vote after church.

Catch up quick: The special session comes weeks after state Democrats staged a walkout to block a voter restriction bill.

What they're saying: "The 87th Legislative Session was a monumental success for the people of Texas, but we have unfinished business to ensure that Texas remains the most exceptional state in America," Abbott said in a statement, per CBS News.

The big picture: The agenda for the special session includes legislation reforming the bail system in the state, a bill providing funding to local law enforcement, and a measure evaluating social media "censorship," among other items.

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