In the middle of the House Elections Committee's regularly scheduled hearing, a federal judge handed down an especially pertinent decision declaring that Texas' 2011 voter identification legislation was passed with a discriminatory intent.

In 2016, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law had a discriminatory effect on minority voters. The court declined to rule at the time on the law's intent, waiting until Monday to do so.

As if it were scheduled with this ruling in mind, the elections committee reviewed an updated voter ID law to address the 5th Circuit's previous rulings.

"We had this court ruling that literally happened here while we are sitting here on the dais," Chairwoman Jodie Laubenburg, R- Parker, said.

The piece of House legislation presented was authored by Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, and mirrors the legislation passed in the Senate by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, earlier in the session.

Changes from previous voter ID legislation include:
• Offering mobile voter registration units
• Allowing voters age 70 years and older to use any acceptable form of expired identification
• Allowing voters younger than age 70 to use identification expired up to two years
• Allowing anyone to use expired identification of any time frame if the voter also signs an affidavit claiming a reasonable impediment

The law requires voters to use photo identification in limited forms including a driver’s license, United States military identification card, U.S. citizenship certificate, handgun carry license and U.S. passport.

Should a voter not be able to obtain one of these forms of identification, he or she could present other forms of identification with a signed affidavit stating a reasonable impediment. These forms of identification include a government document showing the name and address of the voter, a copy of a current utility bill, a bank statement, government check, paycheck or certified copy of a domestic birth certificate.

If a voter lies about their impediment, they could be punished with a third-degree felony, which carries a sentence of two to 10 years in prison. A prosecutor must prove that a voter intentionally lied about his or her impediment.

Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, said she did not understand the reasoning for such a harsh penalty.

"The overwhelming reason if there is voter fraud is not because someone impersonated someone else," she said.

Deputy First Assistant Attorney General Brantley Starr said proving intent would be the most challenging part of the law.

In response to Mondays' ruling, Starr said the Texas Attorney General's office has yet to appeal the ruling.