Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced his support for a fourth special legislative session to address two election-related issues that did not get passed in the third special session that ended this week. He specifically noted the House’s failure to increase the penalty for illegal voting and approve a “forensic audit bill.”
“The Texas Senate just finished a strong conservative session. But more needs to be done,” tweeted the Lt. Gov. Wednesday. “Senate added felony penalties for illegal voting, but the House cut it to a misdemeanor. The House needs to pass an election forensic audit bill. I support Gov. Abbott calling us back to pass both.”
Abbott added the penalty increase to the call for the third special session, but it quickly ran into opposition from House Speaker Dade Phelan. Abbott did not include the election audit proposal on his agenda despite pressure from former President Donald Trump. The Texas Senate did, however, pass Senate Bill 47 for an audit on the 2020 election and setting guidelines for future audits, though it was stymied in the House.
After Patrick made the statement on Wednesday, the Texas Republican Party said it supported the idea, saying lawmakers should tackle illegal voting penalties and election audits, as well as a ban on vaccine mandates and a ban on gender affirmation, including hormone treatment and puberty blockers.
Matt Rinaldi, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, said, “We commend the Texas Legislature and governor for delivering numerous significant and substantive conservative victories this year. But more needs to be done. We support Gov. Abbott calling the legislature back to address these issues.”
A spokesperson for the governor released a statement responding to the tweet, saying Gov. Abbott does not intend to call another special session at this time.
“Texans tasked the Legislature with delivering on key priorities for the state in this most recent special session, including property tax relief, redistricting and the nearly $16 billion American Rescue Plan Act funding, and we went above and beyond to deliver on these priorities as well as solve other critical issues for Texas. Because of the Texas House and Senate’s efforts to get these priorities across the finish line, there is no need for another special session at this time.”