Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Republicans Throw in the Towel on Voter ID Bill

What has been one of the most dramatic stories of the legislative session drew to a close this evening when Lt. Gov. Dewhurst agreed not to bring up HB218, a bill that would require voters to show an ID at the polls, and sent an exhausted and ailing Senator Gallegos home.

The admission of defeat on the bill, which [Dewhurst] had confidently predicted would pass the GOP-dominated Senate, came when he sent home state Sen. Mario Gallegos, D-Houston, an ailing senator who had been in the chamber for the past few days to give the Democrats the votes they needed to block the bill.

Gallegos is recovering from a liver transplant, and doctors fear that his body might reject the organ he received in January......

“He’s looking tired,” Dewhurst told reporters, saying that if Gallegos left the Senate before the Wednesday midnight deadline to pass bills, Dewhurst would not bring up the voter ID bill.

Gallegos said he thanked Dewhurst, the Senate’s presiding officer, for the gesture.

He said that remaining in Austin despite doctors’ orders that he stay close to home “really took a lot out of me, both from the stress and from the illness.

“But it was worth it,” Gallegos said. “Voter ID is a bad bill.”

We thank the Senator and wish him a speedy recovery. As for Dewhurst, better late than never. Keep in mind, he dismissed Gallegos only in the waning hours of the session, when it became clear that Democrats would be able to filibuster any last minute attempt to pass the bill.

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