DALLAS — While Democrats continue to say all options remain on the table when it comes to fighting the GOP election bill, some say there are aspects of the special session legislative agenda they can support.
Sen. Nathan Johnson from Dallas said for him that includes family violence prevention and what’s known as the “thirteenth check” for retired teachers, a one-time supplemental benefit check from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
“There’s a few things in there that are the kind of stuff that we should have achieved in the regular session had we not been arguing about the silly things that we were arguing about,” the Democrat said on Inside Texas Politics.
But the elephant in the room continues to be the Senate Bill 1, the election legislation. The version being considered in the special session is less stringent than the one debated during the regular session. For instance, the new bill removes a provision that would have restricted voting hours on Sundays.
Sen. Johnson said the changes are a good start, in particular because he sees the legislation as nothing more than a tool to continue the false narrative that there was voter fraud in the 2020 election, something that has been disproven time and time again.
He still doesn’t think the good outweighs the bad, though.
“The national attention to what’s going on here, I think, left no choice but to pull out some of the more egregiously undemocratic provisions of that. Can we get to something we all agree on," asked Johnson. "Not likely. But maybe. We’re going to try to work together.”
The Democrat did say there are elements of the bill he thinks are “quite good and reasonable.” That includes paper trail voting machines that provide a hard backup and a verification system to prove people are who they say they are.
“But I also think we should make it easy to vote and there hasn’t been a lot of effort on that," said Johnson. "We still don’t have online voter registration. Why isn’t that in there?”
Johnson said another walkout to break quorum is still being considered, but it’s a last resort.
“We can’t do that for 18 months. The goal is to work well with people. Every option that’s available, is an option that’s available.”