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Texas Matters: State Senator Gutierrez on Legislative Session and taking on Senator Ted Cruz

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Texas Senator Roland Gutierrez interrupts Gov. Abbott's news conference in Uvalde
Texas Senator Roland Gutierrez interrupts Gov. Abbott's news conference in Uvalde

The "Big Lie" is the fabrication that in 2020 there was massive voter fraud that stole the presidential election from Donald Trump. That Big Lie has been completely exposed as a lie.

If there is any doubt about that, then the recent settlement of the lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News for almost 800 million dollars should put that doubt to rest.

There was no massive voter fraud. And doubt in the election results was purposefully manufactured by the liars at Fox News and Trump Coup-pushing posse.

Elections are safe, secure and trustworthy.

Yet, that message has not gotten to the Republican leadership in the Texas Capitol who are continuing to push for laws that make voting more difficult. And they justify these bills by claiming there is something wrong with our election systems and that there’s fraud—which is not true.

However, that doesn't matter because the Big Lie playbook is still gospel with the Texas GOP.

And here’s evidence: this week Texas Republican lawmakers crept closer to their goal of making voting illegally a felony.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. who presides over the Senate, made reinstating the felony punishment a top priority this session.

Critics of this bill have raised concerns that it will be especially detrimental to Texans who are Latinos. A recent American Civil Liberties Union of Texas study found that 64.5% of election fraud prosecutions since Paxton took office were against Latino individuals. The study also found that at least 72% of these prosecutions appeared to have targeted Black and Latino individuals.

Veronikah Warms, Voting Rights Legal Fellow at the Texas Civil Rights Project, says the increased penalty for illegal voting appears to be part of a larger Republican strategy to suppress voting in Texas.

Sen Gutierrez
Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez has been fighting against the tide at the state capitol. He has been trying to pass gun safety restrictions. The Democrat who represents an area that includes Uvalde has called on his lawmaker colleagues to defend children from school shooters.

Gutierrez has been brash and outspoken. But Republican lawmakers are refusing to give him much to point to as progress. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is failing to give his proposed legislation hearings and opposes his amendments.

Gutierrez and others have called for raising the minimum age for purchasing assault rifles and closing loopholes on firearms sales at gun shows.

Gutierrez said there have been over 50 bills filed in the legislature that address guns and school safety, but there is little support for them from the Republican majority.

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