WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Texas state Legislature has agreed on a final version of Senate Bill 7, an omnibus voter suppression bill that legislative Republicans have been working on for months. The bill passed the state House and Senate and was in conference committee this week to resolve discrepancies. The final text includes provisions that would add documentation requirements in order to vote by mail, limit polling hours, ban drive-thru and 24-hour voting, empower partisan poll watchers and more.
The content of S.B. 7 has changed significantly since it was first proposed. Texas Republicans splintered over which voter suppression provisions they wanted to pass first — state House leadership pushed for their policies in another bill, House Bill 6, and state Senate leadership promoted the original S.B. 7 text. Before its House passage in early May, the entire substance of S.B. 7 was replaced with the text of H.B. 6 in a key state House committee. The bill then advanced to conference committee, where representatives from both the state House and Senate agreed on the final text. S.B. 7 will now face a final vote in both chambers before going to the governor.