Your daily dose of Austin
Smartphone image
Make your inbox more Austin.
Local news and fun, every day 6am.
Before the clock struck midnight, Texas' newest voting bill is blocked by House Democrats
(Earl McGehee/CC)

Texas House members effectively blocked Texas' most restrictive voting bill yet in a late-night session on Sunday.

An hour before the midnight deadline, House Democrats left the floor, blocking a bill that would upend Texas voting laws. It might be well before next year that the bill is revived, however.

The bill adds restrictions to mail-in voting, including preventing officials from sending absentee ballots to those who have not requested them, and prohibits drive-thru and certain after hours options. Proponents of the new measures say that it will promote election integrity after former President Donald Trumps' allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 election, while opponents say that the new restrictions could keep Black and Brown residents from voting.

While it appears the bill is gone until next year's session, Gov. Greg Abbott said he will address "voting integrity" as well as a bail reform bill in a special 30-day session later this year.

"Ensuring the integrity of our elections and reforming a broken bail system remain emergencies in Texas," Abbott said. "Legislators will be expected to have worked out the details when they arrive at the Capitol for the special session."

Democrats left the floor after trying to filibuster the bill, pulling out the "last tool in the toolbox" by forcing the vote with 14 fewer members present than the 100 required.

Opponents called the bill "shameful" for making it "harder to vote," as the bill protects partisan poll watchers and adds stricter identification to mail-in ballots. SB 7 also cuts out early voting options before 1 p.m. on Sunday, which Democrats felt was directly related to stifling massive voting events that occur in Black churches

They also heavily criticized a portion that makes it easier for judges to declare fraud in elections. The bill would allow a court to void an election with only evidence that fraud more than likely influenced a victory, and the court can declare the election fraud "without attempting to determine how individual voters voted."

Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacodoches, said that the section will still keep fraud investigations intact.

You still have to prove fraud and all of those elements," Clardy said.

Instead of blocking voters and promoting undue allegations of fraud, Republicans argued that SB 7 would make election results more trustworthy.

Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, said the bill simply "seeks to make it easy to vote and harder to cheat."

The bill will be looked at once more in the special session, according to Abbott, who has not yet specified the next date to reconvene.


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway