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Democrats Use Stalling Tactics On Voter ID & Legislative Updates

By KERA News & Legislative

Austin, TX – Talkative House Democrats used stalling tactics Friday to prevent passage of a voter identification bill they oppose that's scheduled for debate this weekend.

Democrats - who warned they would put up a fight to stop the voter ID measure - began talking at length on non-controversial legislation to use up the clock. The Legislature adjourns June 1, and a number of bill passage deadlines are arriving in the next few days.

The Senate passed a Republican-pushed bill requiring voters to show a photo ID or two non-photo ID alternatives when they cast a ballot. Democrats say that would prevent people without those forms of identification from voting and suppress turnout. If Democrats are going to stop the legislation, it will have to be in the House, where the chamber is almost evenly divided by party.

Veteran Rep. Delwin Jones, R-Lubbock, said Democratic opponents of the voter ID bill were trying to pressure fellow lawmakers to negotiate the legislation, in turn threatening scores of unrelated bills. The delay tactic, using the rules to eat up time, is known as "chubbing."

"In lieu of the filibuster, the House chubs," Jones said. "It keeps a lot of bills from being considered, which puts a lot of pressure on the members who have bills they want to pass."


Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco, leader of the House Democrats, said members of his party were willing to compromise on key legislation but would continue to use parliamentary maneuvers to keep the voter ID bill off the House floor.

"We're not being obstructionists. We're not killing any bills. We're not breaking quorum," Dunnam said. "We're trying to get the House's priorities back in order."

Dunnam said Democrats would allow important bills to be taken up and passed out of order with a vote of a supermajority of legislators - two-thirds of them. But that would take bipartisan agreement, which so far has been elusive.


The Senate moved to add Texas to the list of states in support of the 24th Amendment - 45 years after the ban on poll taxes in elections was added to the U.S. Constitution in 1964.

"Better late than never," Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, said when the Senate unanimously passed a resolution to post-ratify the amendment.

To become part of the U.S. Constitution, three-fourths of the states must vote to ratify an amendment. Twelve states did not ratify the measure after Congress adopted it in 1962, Texas among them.