At this time, however, I just want to reprint here the text of a new law passed in the recently ended 87th Texas Legislative session and signed by Governor Greg Abbott. At this moment, I cannot take the time to provide any serious analysis. Let's just say that it's time to Get Serious—that Greens and Libertarians in Texas who want their parties to continue existing will need to put in extra effort to devote more time, money, and energy to raising money or collecting signatures than we ever have. That is...unless these parties can convince a federal judge in a long-pending lawsuit that the fee requirement is unconstitutional.
SB 2093 closes an important loophole left by HB 2504 from the last session, which an appeals judge found when the Democratic Party of Texas filed a suit to kick Green candidates off the November general election ballot who did not pay the prescribed filing fees or petition signatures in lieu thereof (ignoring the much larger number of Libertarian candidates who also freeloaded onto the ballot). SB 2093 now specifies not only that third-party candidates must submit the requisite number of either filing fees or petition signatures, but when those should be submitted—i.e., when they apply to run.
I have left out all the strikethrough text in the final bill, excerpted from the old Section 141 of the Texas Electoral Code.
S.B. No. 2093
relating to filing fees for certain candidates considered for nomination by convention.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Section 141.041, Election Code, is transferred to Subchapter B, Chapter 181, Election Code, redesignated as Section 181.0311, Election Code, and amended to read as follows:
Sec. 181.0311. FILING FEE OR PETITION REQUIRED.
(a) In addition to any other requirements, to be considered for nomination by convention, a candidate must:
(1) pay a filing fee to the secretary of state for a statewide or district office or the county judge for a county or precinct office; or
(2) submit to the secretary of state for a statewide or district office or the county judge for a county or precinct office a petition in lieu of a filing fee that satisfies the requirements prescribed by Subsection (e) and Section 141.062.
(b) The amount of the filing fee is the amount prescribed by Section 172.024 for a candidate for nomination for the same office in a general primary election.
(c) A filing fee received by the secretary of state shall be deposited in the state treasury to the credit of the general revenue fund.
(d) A filing fee received by the county judge shall be deposited in the county treasury to the credit of the county general fund.
(e) The minimum number of signatures that must appear on the petition authorized by Subsection (a) is the number prescribed by Section 172.025 to appear on a petition of a candidate for nomination for the same office in a general primary election.
(f) The secretary of state shall adopt rules as necessary to implement this section.
SECTION 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.