In their efforts to exploit procedural rules by fleeing their state of representation, over 50 Texas state House lawmakers boarded private planes and flew to Washington D.C. in their effort to stall a vote on a controversial voting laws bill.
According to KTLA, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott threatened to have the Democratic state lawmakers arrested, and on Tuesday, he and state House Republicans made good on that promise after they formally issued arrest warrants for the fleeing Democrats.
What’s going on?
Texas Democrats claim they all flew to the nation’s capital to rally their voters to support a federal voting rights legislative piece that would radically transform how elections take place across the country, with many claiming that, if passed, it would be a boon for Democratic candidates everywhere.
But the real reason why the Democrats left was to stall a vote in their own state, a vote that sets in motion a Republican-favored voting law, not unlike recent voting integrity laws passed in Georgia and other states, which sparked a backlash from Democrats, including from President Joe Biden.
By fleeing the state in droves, the Texas Democrats made it impossible for a required quorum, thus denying the Texas House from taking a vote on the proposed voting reform laws.
The Democrats who fled generated headlines after posting selfies across their social media accounts, jokingly referring to themselves as “fugitives.
According to the Texas Tribune, the large contingent of Texas House Democrats held a press conference in Washington D.C. on Tuesday morning, in which they vowed to remain outside of their state for the duration of the special session at the Texas Capitol.
“They will be arrested”
Abbott threatened the Texas House Dems with arrest during an interview on Monday night with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, adding that they will be forced to return to the state legislature to carry on with business.
“Once they step back into the state they will be arrested and brought back to the Capitol and we will be conducting business,” Abbott said.
Texas Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan made the arrest warrants official on Tuesday, saying “A sergeant-at-arms and any officers appointed by him are directed to send for all absentees whose attendance is not excused, for the purpose of securing and maintaining their attendance, by warrant of arrest if necessary.”
A vote to make the arrest warrants formal was passed shortly thereafter, in a 76-4 vote.
Only time will tell what happens to the state Democrats who fled to D.C., but state Republicans have zero intention of giving up on passing the bill, and are obviously ready to do whatever it takes to make sure it receives a fair vote.