Texas Democrats who fled to Washington to avoid debating new election laws, do not plan to return “for now” to the state to fulfill their duties in the state’s House of Representatives.
According to The Epoch Times, this Tuesday, July 13, Republican lawmakers authorized the search and arrest of the more than 50 Democrats who traveled to the capital.
“Members, the sergeant-at-arms and the 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—under warrant of arrest, if necessary,” said Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan.
“Any member who wishes to leave the hall must have the written permission of the Speaker of the House,” he added.
Of the 67 House Democrats, 63 were absent from Monday’s special legislative session, denying Republicans the quorum they needed to pass the bill.
In the absence, the remaining lawmakers voted 76-4 to order state law enforcement to find and return the absent Democrats so they can perform their legislative duties.
“As soon as they come back [to] the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said.
In addition, the Republican released a video saying that “Democrats must get back to the job they were elected to do.” And, he noted that “Their constituents must not be denied important resources simply because their elected representatives refused to show up for work.”
Democratic lawmakers: “we are staying out for now”
Democracy Now reached out to two of the Democratic lawmakers who fled to Washington and both stated that they are not going back to Texas just yet.
“We are staying out Texas for now,” said Jasmine Crockett. Likewise, Trey Martinez Fischer (who represents San Antonio) pointed out, “We’re not going to be bullied and intimidated by anybody, including the governor or our colleagues,” he emphasized.
Despite the absence, Democratic lawmakers continue to collect their $221-a-day salary, a spokesman for Gov. Greg Abbott’s office told Fox News.
For his part, Democratic state Rep. James Talarico tweeted Monday about the “sacrifice” he and his colleagues made, saying they had “left behind our families, our livelihoods” and Texas itself.
Not the first time
This is the second time this year that Texas Democratic lawmakers have rebelled against Republicans who control both houses of the state legislature to boycott votes on legislation aimed at ensuring electoral integrity.
In late May, after a tense debate in the state House, Democrats decided to gradually leave the floor to prevent a quorum.