We must move SB 1927 by Hughes to enforce Election Integrity!
Action is needed to move the only effective solution to lack of enforcement of election integrity law by our big county prosecutors in Texas and the recent prohibition on Attorney General independent state level enforcement of any criminal law including election integrity. The bill that MUST pass this session is SB 1927 by Senator Bryan Hughes.
Please use this link to email Senate Republicans and our Lieutenant Governor urging them to restart the bogged down SB 1927 and pass it on to the House.
SB 1927 has the only approach to actually getting effective enforcement of election integrity law in time for the 2024 presidential elections this session. I am sure that the Republican leadership of Texas does NOT want to have a conversation with Donald Trump explaining to him why there will be no effective enforcement against widespread cheating in big counties in the 2024 presidential election. But that is what they will have to do if SB 1927 does not pass this session.
SB 1927 beefs up an existing State Prosecutor Office reporting to the Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) and gives it independent, state level, prosecutorial authority for election integrity.
Bills with three alternative approaches have been filed other than SB 1927. Most have merits on their own rights, but are unlikely to get the job of enforcing election integrity in 2024. (Note that everyone rejected a constitutional amendment approach to the problem to give it back to the Attorney General because that takes 2/3 in both chambers, and it is a certainty that such a try would fail because of Democrat opposition.) They are:
Removal of prosecutors Who “categorically refuse to prosecute specific criminal offenses”: (HB 17 by Cook and SB 20 by Huffman)
These bills, designated as high priority by the respective chamber leadership, have a very similar approach to each other with different implementing language. The idea of each is to add to the definition of “official misconduct” in the law to include “categorically refusing to prosecute specific criminal offenses” using the citizen-initiated removal procedures currently being used by the Nueces County CCDF (County Citizens Defending Freedom) group is using against the rogue Nueces County DA.
We need one of these bills to pass. I signed in in favor of SB 20 because there are other laws besides election integrity that Soros-funded big county DAs are refusing to enforce.
But this approach will NOT get effective enforcement of election integrity law in 2024. First off, the process for removal is lengthy and difficult, even if this additional help passes. And second, all a prosecutor has to do is say that they are not categorically refusing to enforce election law. They will just say that they “see no compelling evidence” of such, and this approach will fail to get effective enforcement in 2024. [Update: HB 17 was signed by the governor on June 17 and becomes effective on Sep. 1, 2023.]
Giving prosecutors in counties adjacent to big counties the power to prosecute in the neighboring big county: (Several legislators in both the House and Senate filed bills using this approach, most of which are dead, but I have been told that one of them is moving, but don’t know which it is.)
The counties adjacent to big counties in Texas are experiencing rapid growth. Law enforcement, including the prosecutor offices in those counties, faces surging crime in their counties. They have neither the time, resources, nor inclination to wade into the big counties next to them which they abhor, anyway. If implemented, this also is likely to be very ineffective. [Update: bills did not pass, but Dan Patrick has asked governor to put on special session.]
Re-delegate the power to independently prosecute to the Attorney General, but only if there is inaction by the locals for 6 months (SB 1195 by Hughes)
This, in my opinion, is a hail Mary try to solve the problem because the Court of Criminal Appeals is very likely to strike this down, too. The logic of the State v Stephenson opinion that caused this problem is that the Texas Constitution defines prosecutorial roles in the Judiciary section. The Attorney General is defined as an executive department official. So, the CCA reasoned that starting prosecution in the AG’s office violates separation of powers. I don’t mind trying, but it is not a constitutionally sound way to solve the problem the way SB 1927 is.
SB 1927 follows the logic of the CCA and places statewide independent prosecution under the judicial branch. Given the State v Sephenson opinion, SB 1927 is THE constitutional solution to the problem.
The Sidetrack that Must Be Overcome
SB 1927 sailed through Senate State Affairs early in session with all Republicans voting casting votes in favor. Democrat Senator Zaffarini also voted for the bill in committee. The bill was then rapidly placed on the Senate intent calendar, but instead of getting the vote, it was pulled off Senate intent calendar 6 days later and has been languishing there ever since.
I finally snapped to the problem last week and started my investigation work, finding that an unspecified Republican expressed opposition. I don’t know for sure who it was, but suspect it was the sponsor of an alternative approach to SB 1927. After conversations with key Senate members and staff as well as the Lieutenant Governor’s staff, we think we can restart SB 1927 and move it forward. One Republican Senator is not enough to stop a bill from passing the Senate. The Lieutenant Governor and the rest of the Republicans just need to make it happen. And soon!
Your emails using the link above can help get this very productive and busy body’s attention to this problem and get the solution rolling again.
One Final Note
SB 1927 includes delegation of independent prosecutorial authority not only for election integrity, but also for public integrity, abortion, and human trafficking. I have been advocating for adding sedition and riot, as well. Election integrity is the main driver for this bill, but there is no reason not to solve other problems at the same time. No Republican who wants the election integrity issue solved is going to be opposed to solving these other problems, too, so there is no reason not to keep the additional items in the list.