Historic Week: Election Integrity, Pro-Life Victories

May 9, 2021

This week, we passed some of the strongest, most conservative pieces of legislation in Texas history.

Election Integrity

On Thursday night, the Texas House debated the election integrity priority bill, SB 7, until 3:00 a.m in the morning.  After a marathon debate with over 17 hours straight on the floor, it was finally passed on Friday, marking a huge victory for Republicans.  This bill will now convene a conference committee for both chambers to resolve any differences.

I know many of you have called to express your concerns over the security and validity of the 2020 election.  That’s why I co-authored this benchmark bill, and fought off any attempts by democrats to weaken the bill or include any loopholes.  I can confidently say this bill will go a long way in increasing transparency in our voting process and ensuring that voters can have confidence when casting their ballot.

Voting is our greatest privilege and most powerful tool we have.  It is fundamental to  healthy democracy.  SB 7 is for all Texans.  It creates consistency, produces reliability, and restores trust.
Here are a few key provisions in this bill:

  • Prohibits public officials from unauthorized altering or waiving of an election procedure or practice.
  • Ensures that voter registration is legitimate and accurate by requiring a list of deceased voters to be sent to the appropriate authority within 7 days of being created.
  • Requires elections to be conducted in a consistent manner throughout the entire state.
  • Makes certain that poll watchers are able to properly observe the activity or procedure for which they have jurisdiction and verifies that poll watchers will not disrupt the delivery of marked ballots.
  • Updates the oath of assistance to protect voters who are unable to write or see due to a physical disability from being improperly swayed by an election assistant, and provides that falsifying the oath of assistance amounts to perjury.
  • Provides additional protection to voting by mail by adding a section for voting assistants to attest that they do not receive compensation in return for assisting a voter with their ballot.
  • Prevents election fraud by prohibiting voting in more than one state, the alteration of a ballot, and vote trafficking.
  • Prohibits local governments from spending tax dollars to solicit or distribute applications to vote by mail.
  • Prioritizes cases involving election integrity and ensures these fraud cases are free from potential judicial bias by randomly assigning the cases to a court.
  • Prohibits poll watchers from harassing voters and prevents poll watchers from being removed without cause.

Historic Pro-Life Victories

Not only did we make great strides in securing our elections, but we also made monumental changes to protect life.  

SB 8 is the Texas Heartbeat Bill which bans abortion after a baby’s heartbeat has been detected.  Currently, abortions may be performed in Texas up to 20 weeks into a pregnancy.  With a fetal heartbeat potentially detected at six weeks of pregnancy, this marks a major advancement in the prohibition timeline.  Passing this bill is a huge step forward to saving lives and abolishing abortion here in Texas.

HB 1280 is the Trigger Bill that was also passed this week.  It sets the stage for Texas to institute a prohibition on abortions upon the U.S. Supreme Court overturning its Roe v. Wade decision.  The bill states that 30-days after the courts overturn the landmark case, Texas will immediately institute a ban on the practice of abortions.  The ban will limit the procedure to being performed by licensed medical professionals, and only in times of medical emergency or necessity to save the mother’s life.  This bill is another crucial step Texas has taken and is reflective of our deep commitment to valuing life above all else.  

How to Protest your Appraisal

I know many of you just received your appraisal in the mail and have questions or are shocked by a very high increase in your appraisal.  I’d continue to encourage you to protest your appraisal.  If you are interested in learning more on how to do this, visit the appraisal district website for Parker County HERE or Wise County HERE.  There will be step by step instructions with a protest form to complete.  I also found this document Property Taxpayer Rights & Remedies helpful for what you need to know when protesting an appraisal.  

Property Tax Relief Legislation Advances to Senate 

 In an effort to reduce the property tax burden, I authored HB 3833.  Yesterday, this bill became the only property tax cut bill to be passed on the floor this session.  HB 3833 standardizes and extends the same 3 year reduced rollback tax penalty we did for open space land and timber land to all other properties that can get penalized when a change of use occurs.  In addition to that, we completely eliminated any interest from being charge in connection with a rollback tax.  This was a huge victory for landowners.   

The cost of the rollback tax is a strong deterrent for landowners to try and find the best use for their land.  It should be the landowner’s decision for what is best use of their property and it should be their decision without a penalty.  I look forward to one day completely getting rid of this excessive tax burden all together.  

Texans need and deserve tax cuts. No one should be taxed out of their home.  We will continue to look for meaningful ways to reduce this burden.  

Protecting Oil & Gas Interests

I am proud to report that on Tuesday the House passed SB 13, a bill that I carried, that will ensure Texas does not give business to financial institutions that are actively trying to harm Texas oil & gas companies.  Over the past few years, in the name of extreme environmentalism, some financial institutions have announced their intention to divest from and financially harm companies in the oil and gas sector.  This is a direct affront to the lifeblood of the Texas economy and has made it much more difficult for Texas oil and gas companies to secure financing, thus harming many hard-working Texans. 

SB 13, a bill that Senator Brian Birdwell and I authored together, will ensure that Texas does not give it’s business to firms who are complicit in harming the Texas miracle.  Next stop, Governor Abbott’s desk!

And in case you missed it, here’s an interview I did earlier this week on the bill.