Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan has reported signed the arrest warrants for House Democrats who left the state for Washington, D.C., in order to avoid a vote on a new election reform bill.
The Texas Tribune reported on Tuesday, “The 52 warrants represent all but 15 Democrats in the lower chamber. There were at least 11 present Tuesday.”
The report added, “There were no additional new Democrats on the floor Tuesday after four returned a day earlier — and drew the wrath of some Democratic colleagues still in Washington, and prompted a renewed push inside the party to hold the line.”
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan just signed civil arrest warrants for 52 Democrats whose absences have effectively shut down the lower chamber for weeks. The lawmakers now face visits from law enforcement trying to bring them back to the Capitol. https://t.co/9fs4Pz9OWD
— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) August 11, 2021
State Rep. Chris Turner, chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, said in a statement Tuesday it’s “fully within our rights as legislators to break quorum to protect our constituents.”
He added, “Texas House Democrats are committed to fighting with everything we have against Republicans’ attacks on our freedom to vote,” according to Fox News.
Several Democrats have now returned to Texas, but have still not returned to work. Fox News reported that as of Monday, the Texas House was only four members short of the number needed to proceed with a vote.
The long battle is far from over. Abbott has said he will continue to call special sessions until the missing lawmakers return and finish their job.