The House Calendars Committee voted this evening to place the voter ID bill, SB 14, on the House calendar for Monday. Gov. Rick Perry declared the item an emergency issue just days after the Texas Legislature gaveled in two months ago.
House members always have the option of suspending calendar rules to take up the matter before next week, but committee chairman Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, said he didn’t think that would happen.
The measure would require voters to present photo identification — like a driver's license — at the polls in order to cast a ballot.
Asked why the item was scheduled for Monday and not later this week as some members expected, Hunter said it was just a matter of timing.
“I can’t tell you much more other than we just got the paperwork today,” he said.
The legislation nearly derailed the 2009 session after Democrats, who at the time had 74 members in the Texas House, used stalling tactics to prevent the bill from coming to the floor for a vote. The legislation is expected to pass this time around, however, after the party’s numbers dwindled to 49 to the 101-member majority enjoyed by Republicans.
Hunter didn’t want to speculate too much on how the process would go in the lower chamber, but conceded it would not be a run-of-the-mill vote. Before the legislation was voted out of the Texas Senate down party lines, 19-11, in January, 41 amendments to the bill were presented to lawmakers. Nine ultimately made the cut.