State Rep. Alex Dominguez speaks latest on voting reform
When state lawmakers convene for a special legislative session next month, the controversial voting rights bill known as Senate Bill 7 is likely going to be front and center.
That’s the bill that prompted an 11th-hour walkout by Democrats to keep it from being voted on.
Because of that, Gov. Greg Abbott followed through on his threat to defund the legislature – a move that one local lawmaker says is hurting his staff, not him.
Rep. Alex Dominguez (D-Brownsville) was one of the Democrats who walked out on the regular session before SB7 could be voted on. Dominguez says despite the governor's legislative funding veto, he’s still getting his $600 a month.
“He did not veto my salary,” Dominguez said. “He did veto the salary of my staff, the legislative budget board, the legislative counsel. About 2,000 state employees will be without benefits and without pay on September 1.”
Dominguez says he doesn’t understand punishing staffers for something they had nothing to do with.
“One of them has a brand new baby boy,” Dominguez said. “I can only imagine how that’s going to affect him, his wife, and his child, and all the doctors visits they have to go to. A few members have already had their staff leave and apply to work at other places because they've never seen this. This has never happened in the state of Texas."
There could also be some tweaks made to Senate Bill 7 this time around, including changes to one controversial provision that was added as a last-minute addition.
“The elimination of voting on Sundays during the morning, which is predominantly used by African-American voters who will attend service,” said STC History professor Trinidad Gonzales. “It’s called Souls to the Polls.”
And even thought Democrats staged the walkout, Republicans are not immune to the impact of the governor’s action.
“Interestingly enough, more Republican staffers are going to be affected by this veto,” Gonzales said.
While Rep. Dominguez was tight-lipped about what’s to come, he did say an announcement was coming Friday morning.
Last week several Democratic state lawmakers met with Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, calling on Congress to pass federal legislation to restore oversight of elections.
However, the Senate GOP used the filibuster to block the Democratic proposal on Tuesday.