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Texas Matters: Elections Committee Chaos And Anti-Transgender Bills

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A box of signatures against voter restriction bills are found thrown in a Texas Capitol trash can.

The Republican-controlled legislature is continuing its pursuit of bills that if passed will make it more difficult to vote in Texas. We’ve been covering this week after week on Texas Matters, and we’ve highlighted the times that House Elections Committee Chairman Briscoe Cain has had difficulty in his leadership role.

Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider reviews how Cain has been handling the task.

Now for the latest episode with Chairman Briscoe Cain, on Thursday morning the House Elections Committee once again descended into disorder after Cain blindsided his fellow committee members with a parliamentary maneuver so out of the ordinary that even a member of his own party wouldn’t go along with it, at first.

Cain made a motion to substitute SB 7 — the senate’s version of the election overhaul bill with HB 6, which is the House election bill that Cain authored.

That effort failed when another GOP lawmaker didn’t vote to follow along. This happened after Cain pressed forward by saying there were no objections to adopting the substitute language even as Democrats were shouting their objections at times.

However it didn’t end there. The committee reconvened Thursday evening and again voted on the language change. It passed 5-4 vote — along party lines and after rejecting several proposed Democratic amendments.

We have the audio of the Thursday morning committee hearing that didn’t go the way that Cain planned.

Cain’s parliamentary maneuver was eventually successful. However, this does not mean that SB 7 is dead. It does mean that SB 7 won’t get a public hearing in the house. For more on that we’re joined by Carisa Lopez political director of the Texas Freedom Network which is working to prevent the passage of voting restriction legislation like SB 7 and HB 6

The Texas Legislature is following another right wing national trend — bills that target transgender youth. The prevent them from playing school sports, prohibit the changing of gender markers and one bill SB 1646 would criminally charge parents with child abuse if they help their minor child receive medical treatment.

Molly Carnes is a Houston mother of a transgender daughter and she testified about these bills in the legislature.

She joins us for more about her concerns about what is happening in the legislature with these anti-transgender bills.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi