June 22, 2021, 6:01 PM EDT
Democrats staged a rare walkout to block a sweeping election bill in the final hours of the regular session in May.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is calling lawmakers back to Austin on July 8 for a special legislative session, where a controversial election legislation Democrats have decried as voter suppression is expected to be back on the agenda.
Democrats blocked a sweeping election bill in the final hours of the legislative session last month by staging a rare walkout and breaking quorum. Abbott, who had told lawmakers the legislation was one of his top priorities, responded furiously and vowed to force lawmakers back to Austin for a special session.
The governor’s office did not confirm that the July 8 session would include election legislation, but Abbott had previously said he planned to call two special sessions: one focused on elections and bail reform, followed by a second session in September or October focused on redistricting and allocating federal coronavirus funds throughout the state.
It’s unclear whether Texas Republicans will attempt to write a new elections bill or reintroduce the version that failed last month. That measure, Senate Bill 7, would have banned drive-through voting, limited voting hours, made it more difficult to cast mail ballots and empowered partisan poll watchers.