The Senate Nominations Committee has still not held a hearing on the nomination of David Whitley to be Texas secretary of state. Whitley, who was appointed in December, drew criticism for releasing a list of nearly 100,000 names he said belonged to registered voters who might not be U.S. citizens. He later walked back portions of the list, and many who appeared on it were found to be eligible to vote.
To be confirmed, Whitley needs the votes of two-thirds of the Senate’s 31 members. Eight Democrats have already announced they would not vote for his confirmation.
“He’ll need some support to get to that two-thirds majority from Democrats,” Rocha says.
If Whitley is not confirmed, he will lose his post after the current legislative session, which ends in May.
The state faces three federal lawsuits over the voter list, and eight counties have announced that they will not use the list to check for unlawfully-registered voters, as long as the lawsuits are active.
State Sen. Angela Paxton, who is also the wife of Attorney General Ken Paxton, filed a bill this week that would broaden the attorney general’s power to exempt individuals from the State Securities Act. Ken Paxton has been indicted for violating that law and two others. Angela Paxton says her bill is aimed at consumer protection, allowing more people to participate in the “fintech” industry.
Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke had stated his intention to announce his 2020 election plans by the end of February. Rocha says O’Rourke might not make that deadline.