The Back Mic: Texas GOP slams voter fraud ruling, new Senate finance chairman steps in, Sheriff Abbott’s endorsements listed

Texas GOP denounces Court of Criminal Appeals ruling on voter fraud lawsuit An exclusive look at Texas politics and politics, every Friday.

With some county prosecutors across the state hesitant or downright dismissive of prosecuting voter fraud, that leaves the future of the bill in question. The legislation granted the state attorney general specific authority to pursue these allegations, but the court ruled that it was a violation of the separation of powers.

The Texas Legislature’s flagship legislation of 2021, the Election Integrity Act of 2021, is under threat after the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that only county district attorneys can prosecute voter fraud allegations.

Being the highest judicial authority in criminal matters, the court’s decision is final.

This week, the Republican Party of Texas issued a terse statement criticizing the decision and supporting the attorney general’s authority.

“This decision is bad for Texas. Now, Texans will be forced to rely on their local prosecutors to investigate and prosecute voter fraud,” the statement said. “This most likely means that large urban areas and strong liberals will have no recourse to prosecute voter fraud.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the court to reconsider its decision. The party echoed that request saying, “The Republican Party of Texas supports the motion for a rehearing and hopes the Court will overturn this sweeping decision that undermines years of precedent and the will of the legislature.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has tapped Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) to take over the powerful Senate Finance Committee that will be vacant with the retirement of current chair, Sen. Jane Nelson (R- Flower Mound).

Joan Huffman to chair Senate Finance Committee

“When Finance Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, decided not to run for office, I immediately began thinking about who I would nominate as the next Finance Chair,” Patrick said in a statement. “The position of finance chair is one of the most powerful positions in the Senate. This person, along with the Senate Finance Committee, oversees the budget for the world’s 9th largest economy.

“After careful consideration and deliberation, I have decided to appoint Senator Joan Huffman to this position.”

Huffman has been in the Texas Senate since 2008, when she defeated Chris Bell in a special election.

“As Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, I will lead efforts with the help of my colleagues in the Senate to pass another Conservative budget that meets the needs of our growing population, encourages economic growth and ensures public safety. Texans deserve nothing less,” Huffman said of the nomination.

Huffman took over the chairmanship on Wednesday of this week.

In 2021, the Texas Legislature approved a budget of $248.5 billion for the 2022-2023 biennium, along with a stricter spending increase cap.

Last week, The Back Mic listed key endorsements in Texas’ gubernatorial race. This week, Governor Greg Abbott announced the approval of more than 50 of the 254 sheriffs across the state. They are listed below:

List of sheriffs who endorsed Abbott for re-election

David Soward—Atascosa County
Alden Southmayd, III – Bee County
Don Jackson—Blanco County
Jeff Neal—Bowie County
L. Bo Stallman, II – Brazoria County
Urbino “Benny” Martinez – Brooks County
Bobbie Vickery—Calhoun County
Tam Terry—Carson County
Larry Rowe—Cass County
Brian Hawthorne—Chambers County
Michael Pigg—Childress County
Carl Bowen – DeWitt County
Mark Johnson—Fannin County
Ricky S. Jones – Franklin County
Buddy Mills—Gillespie County
Donald Sowell — Grimes County
Roy Boyd—Goliad County
Keith Schmidt—Gonzales County
Arnold Zwicke—Guadalupe County
Pat Laughery – Hardeman County
Gary Cutler—Hays County
Rodney Watson—Hill County
West Arvin — County of Hudspeth
Bryan Beavers – Kaufman County
Larry Leitha—Kerr County
Richard Kirkpatrick—Kleberg County
Scott C. Cass – Lamar County
Jesus Ramos — Lampasas County
Micah C. Harmon – Lavaca County
Larry Busby—Live Oak County
David Capps—Marion County
Brad Ingram—Martin County
Emmett Shelton—McMullen County
David Criner—Midland County
Clint Hammonds—Mills County
Rand Henderson—Montgomery County
Terry Bouchard — Ochiltree County
Brent Warden – County Oldham
Brian Thomas—Potter County
Pinky Gonzales—Refugio County
Carl L. Squyres – Runnels County
Johnwayne Valdez – Rusk County
Thomas N. Maddox – Sabine County
Robert Cartwright—San Augustine County
Oscar Rivera—San Patricio County
Trey Wilson—Scurry County
Larry Smith—Smith County
Bill Waybourn—Tarrant County
Doc Wigington – Throckmorton County
Justin Marr—Victoria County
Shannon Srubar—Wharton County
Raymundo “Ray” Del Bosque, Jr. – Zapata County
Eusevio Salinas—Zavala County

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