Updated Aug 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Texas House advances voting bill that Democrats fled state to protest

 The Texas state Capitol is shown during the Georgetown to Austin March for Democracy rally on July 31, 2021 in Austin, Texas.

The Texas state Capitol is shown during the Georgetown to Austin March for Democracy rally on July 31, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Texas House Republicans gave final approval to a slate of new voting restrictions on Friday following months of protests by Democrats, including a 38-day walkout, the Texas Tribune reports.

Why it matters: Friday's vote brings Texas one step closer to enacting voting restrictions — making it set to be the latest big Republican state to pass tighter voting laws following the 2020 election, per AP.

Driving the news: The Texas House on Thursday night passed a nearly 50-page bill on a 79-37 party-line vote. It includes measures limiting early voting hours, banning drive-thru voting and other measures critics say will raise new barriers for marginalized voters, the Texas Tribune reports.

  • The legislation is a slightly revised version of the Republican bill that first sparked a walk-out by Democrats in the legislature, followed by a nearly six-week absence from the Capitol.

Catch up quick: Texas Democrats fled the state in July to protest the proposed GOP-led restrictions, flying to D.C. to urge federal action on voting rights.

  • A sufficient number of Democrats returned last week to reach quorum in the state Capitol — days after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that House Democrats could be arrested if they don't attend the Capitol.

What to watch: During Friday's vote, the House approved their own version of the bill. Now, the Senate and the House must resolve their differences to present a final legislation to Gov. Greg Abbott (R), per the Tribune.

  • Abbott says he will sign the measure that will likely reach his desk by early September at the latest, per AP.

Go deeper: 38-day Texas House standoff ends after Democrats' return

Editor's note: This post has been updated with new information on the final House approval of the bill.

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