Texas voting bills: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick fiery in defense of Senate Bill 7

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- With a bipartisan battle at play in Texas over the future of elections, the state's No. 2 legislator, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, didn't hold back at criticism levied against a Republican-led effort to fix what he believes is a vulnerable voting system.

A fiery news conference took place Tuesday to address Senate Bill 7, which would impose sweeping restrictions that take particular aim at local efforts meant to make it easier to vote, like extended early voting hours.

Patrick told reporters at the Texas Capitol that critics have not done their homework into the bill, accusing them of race baiting. In addition, he took a number of leaders and corporate executives to task, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the execs of Texas-based American Airlines and Dell Technologies, who have been vocal over the bills.

"I have news for Harris County: You are not the capital of Texas," a blunt Patrick said, specifically to the county's pandemic-driven voting methods implemented last fall.

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In face of criticism and reaction by big corporations in the state, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick took shots at people who have labeled Senate Bill 7 as "suppressive."



Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to make voting laws a top priority in this current Texas Legislature session, especially with both chambers remaining in Republican control.

Patrick said, "I'm proud of what we have done as Republicans when it comes to voting. We have secured the vote and increased the turnout. Senate Bill 7 is about voter security. Not about voter suppression, and I'm tired of the lies and the nest of liars who continue to repeat them."

Even in the midst of criticism from Democrats and voting rights activists, who argue the bills would snuff out accessibility to the polls to people of color and those with disabilities, Abbott has gone as far as to boycott Major League Baseball, which pulled this year's All-Star Game out of Georgia in the wake of new voting restrictions in that state.

The voting restrictions, likely to pass the legislature and slated to be signed by the governor, is almost certain to impact Houston, where concepts like 24-hour early voting and drive-thru balloting emerged in response to the pandemic.

On Monday, Turner led a coalition of local leaders in denouncing what they called acts dishonorable to those who fought for voting rights, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In contrast, Patrick's event ran concurrently with a virtual event held by the Greater Houston Coalition For Justice, which has denounced what it calls an "oppressive" bill in the Texas Senate. And in another virtual press conference, hosted by MOVE Texas, former congressman Beto O'Rourke of El Paso, said, "This is the greatest concerted attack on democracy since the Voting Rights Act was signed into law in 1965 by our fellow Texan, [former President] Lyndon Baines Johnson."

SEE ALSO: Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick offering up to $1M to people for reports of voter fraud in Texas

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