Voting legislation

Yesterday, the Chron reported that a pair of bills, HB 313 and SB 315, were being discussed in committee. The two bills would allow for individuals to register to vote on the internet. Under the House bill, which was introduced by Mark Strama (D-Austin), individuals would need their Social Security #, DL # and DL Audit #.

The Chronicle article claims that the Senate bill, which was introduced by Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio), was passed out of committee, but I can’t find any independent proof to that effect.

In other news, Gene Wu’s HB 3081 was getting some press as well. The Chron writes about this bill, which recently received a hearing in committee. Wu’s bill would allow people who move less than 30 days before an election to vote in their old precincts.

The Secretary of State’s office also announced support for a similar one of Wu’s bills, HB 2601. That bill would expand the time in which one could cast a “limited ballot” in your new home. Current statutes only allow for this to happen during early voting, but 2601 would expand it to election day.

It looks like all of this was left in committee.

Revamping of Graduation Requirements

A few weeks ago, I talked about how there were a few bills that would revamp graduation requirements, including eliminating the need for students to take Algebra II in order to graduate. Well, this is a few days old, but the Texas House recently passed (nearly unanimously) that proposal.

The bill passed, HB5, would reduce end-of-year standardized testing, which is good. It would also reduce the number of science and math classes taken in order to graduate. However, like I mentioned earlier, it would create a remedial path to graduation that many students would be placed into. This would include making Geometry the top math level required for graduation (what I completed in the 9th grade). There would also create a “distinguished diploma,” which would essentially be the same diploma everyone gets right now. It would be college preparatory track, and only be undergoing this track would one be considered for the “top 10% (top 8%) rule.”

Mark Strama, an Austin Representative, attempted to amend the bill by making the distinguished option the default one, and force any individual wishing to graduate in the vocational track to opt-out of the collegiate path. This proposal was defeated, mostly along partisan lines.

The Dallas Morning News has more.