Legislative wrangling over voter ID in Texas

Two years ago, despite a 79-71 Republican majority and a conservative speaker, the Texas House barely passed a bill that would have required Texas voters to show government-issued identification before casting a ballot.

But the voter ID bill died in the Senate thanks to the so-called two-thirds rule, a parliamentarian procedure that requires two-thirds of the senators present to agree to bring a bill to the floor for a debate and a vote. In the 2007 session, the Republicans had a 20-11 majority, one shy of the two-thirds needed to pass the controversial bill.

This session Republicans have a 19-12 majority in the Senate and on Jan. 14 in an 18-1 vote GOP senators decided to exempt the voter ID bill from the two-thirds rule. It has caused a partisan rift the chamber had not seen since the nasty congressional redistricting fight of 2003.

Now the question Capitol watchers are asking is this: Did the Republican majority in the Senate shoot itself in the foot by exempting the voter ID bill from the two-thirds rule?

Democrats certainly think so. Some say that because of demographic shifts in Texas, particularly the explosive growth of the Hispanic population, the day will come when they will regain control of the Legislature.

Story is here.