The Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 76-4 to sic police on Democrats who left the chamber Monday in order to block a vote on election legislation.
“Public pressure is going to get them to return to Texas – I don’t think it will come to them being handcuffed,” says Texas State Rep. Matt Shaheen (R).
The bill in question seeks to tighten voting rules in the state of Texas following the controversial events of 2020. Such proposals – more than 300 of which have been introduced so far this year – have become a hot topic in recent months as Republicans seek to improve election security.
Democrats oppose any and all changes to election security with the argument that such rules make it harder for minorities to vote.
Texas Democrats blocked a vote on the proposal Monday by departing en masse, leaving the chamber with too few members to conduct a vote. Democrats staged the same stunt in May, walking out before a voting deadline on the same bill.
This time around, several lawmakers booked flights to Washington, DC in hopes of bringing national attention to the issue. Texas Democrats plan to remain in the capital until August 7th to run out the clock on a special legislative session called by Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) to address election security.
“We can’t stay here indefinitely,” admits Texas State Rep. Rhetta Bowers (D). “Texas Democrats will use everything in our power to fight back, but we need Congress to act now.”
The decision reached by Republican lawmakers on Tuesday asks law enforcement to find and return the absent lawmakers “under warrant or arrest, if necessary.” The procedural move also aims to record which lawmakers are present during a given session and ban lawmakers from leaving a session without approval.