Election legislation roundup: Texas State Senate

As of April 9, Ballotpedia has tracked 113 election-related bills in the Texas State Senate since the beginning of the year. Of the 113, Ballotpedia tracked seven from April 3-9. Republicans sponsored six, while Democrats sponsored one. Five of seven bills are below:   

  • TX SB359: Relating to the use of preferential voting in certain elections, Sen. Sarah Eckhardt (D). 
    • As introduced, this bill permits the governing body of a municipality or independent school district the use of preferential voting for a nonpartisan election of an officer of the municipality or school district.
  • TX SB2: Relating to conduct constituting the criminal offense of illegal voting; increasing a criminal penalty, Sens. Paul Bettencourt (R), Brandon Creighton (R), Peter Flores (R), Joan Huffman (R), Bryan Hughes (R), Phil King (R), Lois Kolkhorst (R), Mayes Middleton (R), Tan Parker (R), Angela Paxton (R), and Drew Springer (R).
    • As introduced, this bill clarifies a person commits an offense if the person intentionally votes or attempts to vote in an election if the person knows of a particular circumstance that makes them not eligible to vote. The bill also increases the penalties for illegal voting to a felony of the second degree unless the person is convicted of an attempt which is a state jail felony.
  • TX SB808: Relating to the use of public schools as polling place locations, Sen. Angela Paxton (R).
    • As introduced, this bill permits a board of trustees to make a school unavailable to be a polling place during school hours if the board determines this use would conflict with the school’s security plan.
  • TX SB961: Relating to the authority of the board of trustees of a school district to exclude the use of district buildings as polling places and to the designation of days a school district campus is used as a polling place as staff development days, Sen. Donna Campbell (R).
    • As introduced, this bill permits the board of trustees of an independent school district to exclude a building owned or controlled by the district as a polling place. If a school is selected for use as a polling place, the school district must designate the day the campus serves as a polling place as a staff development day.
  • TX SB2038: Relating to release of an area from a municipality’s extraterritorial jurisdiction by petition or election, Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R).
    • A summary has not been provided yet.

During the week of April 3-9, Ballotpedia tracked 41 Senate election-related bills nationally. As of April 9, Ballotpedia has tracked 921 Senate bills nationally. Ballotpedia tracked the most Senate bills this year in the New York State Senate with 136, while Ballotpedia tracked the fewest Senate bills in the Massachusetts State Senate with zero.

As of April 9, Ballotpedia has tracked 417 Senate bills in Democratic trifectas and 388 Senate bills in Republican trifectas. A trifecta is when one political party holds the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. Ballotpedia has tracked 116 Senate bills in states where neither party holds trifecta control.

The Texas Senate is scheduled to be in session from Jan. 10 to May 29 this year. In 2022, Ballotpedia tracked zero Senate bills related to election administration. Texas is a Republican trifecta.

Additional reading: