A side conversation and Jim Crow states

“Sandy, can we pull the two proposed bills, or slow roll them, while this side conversation takes place?”

A constituent sent me that message today.

I met with him and several colleagues in December to discuss how their businesses could benefit from changes in state law.

That side conversation is taking place, I replied, because the bills were introduced.

I may withdraw this legislation before the hearing dates, March 1 and 15.

Between now and then, however, the side conversation may result in agreement on a policy change that would benefit my constituent and serve the public interest.

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At a bill hearing today, I began by saying that House Bill 353 is based on a simple but fundamental premise: before administrative changes are made that could affect the fundamental right to vote, the public is entitled to adequate notice.

My legislation deals with any action related to voter registration, provisional voting, absentee voting, or the location of a polling place.

The state or local boards of election would have to give 48 hours’ notice of a proposed change if it’s on the agenda and post such changes online within 48 hours after they’re made.

This used to be a problem only in Jim Crow states.

However, the Montgomery County Board of Elections voted two years ago to move an early voting polling center from a working class neighborhood to a more upscale community.

After a furor arose, both locations were open for early voting.

All of the skeptical questions today were from Republican legislators.

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