Bill Text: TX HCR31 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Urging Congress to restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-02-25 - Referred to Elections [HCR31 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-HCR31-Introduced.html
  86R6624 KSM-D
 
  By: Reynolds H.C.R. No. 31
 
 
 
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
         WHEREAS, Since the U.S. Supreme Court eviscerated the Voting
  Rights Act of 1965 with its decision in Shelby v. Holder, many
  citizens have confronted new barriers to participation in our
  democracy; and
         WHEREAS, During the Civil Rights Era, the United States
  Congress passed the Voting Rights Act to prevent government at all
  levels from enacting laws or policies that deny American citizens
  the right to vote based on race or ethnicity; one of the key
  provisions, Section 5, requires jurisdictions with a history of
  discrimination to obtain prior federal approval of changes to
  voting rules that could affect minorities; for nearly five decades,
  this provision, known as preclearance, served as a bulwark against
  disenfranchisement, blocking discrimination before it occurred;
  and
         WHEREAS, On June 25, 2013, in its Shelby decision, a sharply
  divided Supreme Court rendered Section 5 inoperable by invalidating
  as antiquated Section 4(b), the formula used to determine the
  states and localities covered by preclearance; absent
  congressional resolve to update the formula, lawmakers in many
  states and districts seized the opportunity to revive voting
  changes that had been blocked, to move forward with changes
  previously deterred, and to implement new discriminatory
  restrictions; such measures included draconian voter ID laws, the
  elimination of early voting opportunities, and the closing or
  moving of hundreds and likely thousands of polling sites; all of
  these actions, which disproportionately affected minorities,
  low-income communities, people with disabilities, and students,
  would previously have required federal approval under Section 5;
  and
         WHEREAS, Court rulings and studies alike have shown that in
  the wake of Shelby, discrimination is widespread; the nonpartisan
  Election Protection coalition undertook a comprehensive review of
  the 2016 presidential election and found a range of barriers to
  voting, including improper enforcement of voter ID laws,
  dissemination of incorrect or deceptive information, failure to
  provide information, and voter intimidation; the organization
  concluded that without an enforceable Section 5, approximately 24
  percent of the nonwhite voting-age population is more vulnerable to
  discriminatory election practices; and
         WHEREAS, For more than a half century, the Voting Rights Act
  has been a vital means of quelling discrimination in the form of
  inequitable redistricting plans, onerous voter ID laws, artificial
  barriers to voting, elimination of early voting opportunities, and
  unfair polling place changes; without a functioning Section 5,
  however, expensive litigation is required to fight unjust voting
  laws, and while legal proceedings drag on, countless voters are
  denied the right to cast ballots; the Supreme Court left it to
  Congress to modernize the formula to determine which states and
  jurisdictions are to be covered by Section 5, and new legislation is
  urgently needed to restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act;
  and
         WHEREAS, The United States was founded on the principle that
  we are all created equal, and as the world's leading democracy, we
  must set the standard for free, fair, and accessible elections in
  which every vote is counted; now, therefore, be it
         RESOLVED, That the 86th Legislature of the State of Texas
  hereby urge the United States Congress to restore and strengthen
  the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and, be it further
         RESOLVED, That the Texas secretary of state forward official
  copies of this resolution to the president of the United States, to
  the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of
  Representatives of the United States Congress, and to all the
  members of the Texas delegation to Congress with the request that
  this resolution be entered in the Congressional Record as a
  memorial to the Congress of the United States of America.
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