Senator Tommy Williams
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0104

January 15, 2009
Contact: Jason Baxter 512-463-0104

Public Statement from Tommy Williams State Senator, District 4

Re: Comment on allowing a majority vote for State Senate floor debate on legislation requiring valid photo ID to vote.

On behalf of the citizens of State Senate District 4, I strongly support requiring voters to provide a valid photo ID to vote.

Voter fraud is a bipartisan concern. Do Texans favor or oppose requiring voters to provide a valid photo ID to vote? The answer is "Yes" just as Texans want protection from other types of identity fraud. The Texas Senate feels it is imperative to address this concern with a "majority vote" special order allowing for State Senate consideration and floor debate during this regular session.

Concerns for allowing an orderly phase-in of the voter photo ID, especially with regard to addressing needs of seniors, will be addressed. Combating voter fraud by requiring voters to have valid photo IDs has been upheld as constitutional and a matter of state's rights per recent federal court rulings. Currently, seven states have voter ID requirements, including Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Louisiana, Georgia and Hawaii. (Source: National Conference of State Legislatures)

Historical precedent for allowing majority vote issues that do not require 2/3rds support for debate have deep historical roots in the Texas State Senate. In recent times, majority vote rules have been invoked in regular and special sessions under Democrat State Senate majorities in 1971, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1992. And a majority vote requirement was invoked under Republican majority in the 2003 third called special session.