5 Things Republicans Should Be Doing Instead of Gutting Voting Rights

AUSTIN, Texas — On Wednesday, Republicans’ latest voter suppression effort, Senate Bill 7, goes to the full Texas Senate for a vote.

Senate Bill 7 is the most comprehensive piece of voter suppression legislation our state has seen since Jim Crow, with provisions that will clearly disenfranchise Black and Latino voters and voters with disabilities. Despite condemnation from Democrats, voting rights advocates, and Texans from communities across the state, Republicans have focused precious legislative time on pushing this shameful bill forward. Yet in the face of multiple crises affecting Texans, Republicans have refused to act — preferring instead to attack Texans’ rights and silence Texans’ voices.

Here are 5 useful things Republicans could be spending time on today, instead of wasting legislative hours attacking Texans’ right to vote:

  • Working with local leaders to protect Texans from COVID-19 and support equitable vaccine distribution to Texas communities.
  • Expanding Medicaid so that every Texan can get quality, affordable healthcare.
  • Regulating and weatherizing the Texas grid so that a crisis like last month’s never happens again.
  • Securing abortion access for all Texans by supporting bills like the Abortion in Health Care Act — House Bill 4389, filed by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) — which would repeal all medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion in Texas.
  • Ensuring ballot box access for every single eligible Texas voter so that Texans can make their voices heard.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“Whether or not SB7 passes today, this bill is a stain on the state of Texas. Senate Bill 7 is the worst voter suppression we’ve seen since Jim Crow — a full-on assault on the voting rights of Texans with disabilities and Black and Latino voters. Every Republican State Senator who votes yes today will carry this shame.

“Republicans have two priorities right now: attacking Texans’ rights and silencing Texans’ voices. Yet in the face of the serious, overlapping crises Texans are facing, Republicans have turned their back on us. This is the opposite of leadership. Democrats will fight tooth and nail against this voter suppression — from the legislature to the courtroom. We will keep championing solutions to the problems Texans face, whether it’s fighting to beat back the pandemic, expand healthcare to all, or ensure ballot box access for every Texas voter.”