After Texas Democrats successfully prevented the passage of a new voting law by staging a walkout of the state’s House chamber, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has placed the blame on state Republicans for the bill’s failure.
According to a report from The Texas Tribune, Patrick made his feelings clear regarding Democrats walking out on the vote, and claimed Senate Bill (SB) 7’s defeat was the fault of Republicans.
“I can’t even blame it on the other party for walking out. They got an opportunity to walk out because of the deadline,” Patrick said according to the Tribune. He later added that he felt that the “clock ran out on the House because it was managed poorly. That’s the bottom line.”
Patrick also felt that lower chambers were in part responsible, as several members allegedly took time out of office as bill passage deadlines quickly approached.
Passage of SB 7, which would have introduced a number of changes like the closure of drive-thru voting and new limited voting hours on Sundays, seemed certain prior to the walk out. The Texas state senate even approved the measure early Sunday morning, adding a last-minute edit that would have made it easier for a judge to overturn an election.
However, because Democrats left the chamber two hours before the midnight deadline, the Texas House of Representatives was unable to host a final vote on the bill without the necessary quorum present.
In a statement made to Newsweek on Monday, Democratic House Leader Chris Turner, who organized the Democratic walk out, agreed with Patrick that Texas Republicans had “only themselves to blame for the way this Session is ending.”
“Ahead of a midnight deadline to pass legislation, dozens of Democratic Members were prepared to give speeches against this measure, which is designed to disenfranchise and discriminate against Texans,” Turner added.
“We were determined to run out the clock. It became obvious Republicans were going to cut off debate to ram through their vote suppression legislation. At that point, we had no choice but to take extraordinary measures to protect our constituents and their right to vote.
Patrick later tweeted out his support to reintroduce SB 7 in a later special session, although it was not immediately clear when it would take place.
“I support @GregAbbott_Tx’s call for a Special Session for #SB7 … and other key legislation. The Texas Senate passed all these priority bills months ago and we will again. The TxHouse failed the people of Texas tonight. No excuse. #txlege,” he wrote on the Office of the Lieutenant Governor’s Twitter account.
Other Texas Republicans like Bryan Slaton also expressed their dismay that the bill had not passed and appeared to agree with Patrick’s assessment.
“Republicans have had 5 months to pass an election integrity bill we waited till the last day to try to pass it,” Slaton wrote on Facebook. “Democrats can only kill a bill that Republican leadership lets them kill. This is why I have joined Dan Patrick and others in demanding an immediate special session to address the failures of Republicans in the Texas House.”
Despite the Republican plans to reintroduce SB 7, Democratic lawmakers remain “determined to kill” the bill for good.