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Texas Democrats now ‘fugitives’

Texas Democrats in Washington

Texas House Democrats gather with supportive members of Congress on the steps of the nation’s Capitol for a news conference Tuesday, July 13, to explain why they walked out on a special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott. The walkout prevented a vote on changes to Texas' election laws. Screen-captured image

Texas House Republicans voted Tuesday, July 13, to have law enforcement track down and arrest the 51 Democrats who left the state to break quorum and prevent a vote on changes to the state’s election laws. Democrats flew on a private plane to Washington, D.C., on Monday to prevent the vote. The U.S. House Democratic Caucus paid for the trip. 

Since Democrats left the state, they are beyond the jurisdiction of state law enforcement, so the move will most likely not result in any arrests. Democrats staged a similar walkout for the same reason at the end of the Legislature’s regular session in May. No action was taken by Republicans at that time.

In a news conference Tuesday morning in Washington, Texas Democrats announced they would be staying in the nation’s capital until the current special session of the Legislature has ended. The 30-day session is expected to end Aug. 6. 

Gov. Greg Abbott listed 11 items of interest for consideration during the special session, but his main priority is to pass a new election law, one that sets the most stringent rules in the nation. 

The Democrats hope to stop House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 1. Changes would include banning drive-through voting and 24-hour voting, which were used in Houston during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bills also would further restrict voting by mail, making it harder for people to send in absentee ballots. 

While Republican officeholders have bombarded the media with statements of outrage about the move, historians pointed out that the tactic has been used successfully by both parties in Texas in the past. 

On Tuesday morning, a motion passed for the somewhat complicated procedure known as “call of the House” to regain a quorum. Then, Rep. Will Metcalf (R-Conroe) called for another motion to send for all absentees and bring them back to the House under “warrant of arrest, if necessary.” 

With a call of the House in place, all entrances to the House chamber are locked. Members are not permitted to leave without permission in writing from the speaker; however, Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) plans to excuse lawmakers in the afternoons as the session progresses. 

editor@thepicayune.com

10 thoughts on “Texas Democrats now ‘fugitives’

  1. Texas bill increases the number of days and hours of early voting, making better access yo the polls. Acting President Biden’s home state of Delaware has a lot fewer hours/days the polls are open than Texas… talk about voter restrictions !!!

  2. if they aren’t here at work voting on teacher pay issues etc and LONGER EARLY VOTING HOURS AND MORE EARLY VOTING DAYS to let us elderly handicapped people vote …don’t pay the juvenile lyin’ Democrats for running off grandstanding. Democrats are acting like this bill restricts voting rights because all races but Blacks have 24 hours in a day but Blacks only get 20 hours or some idiotic argument. They’re just grandstanding while lying to people who have not read the bill.

  3. I wholeheartedly agree that we need an unbiased media. However, it seems that both sides of the aisle have their preferred narrative and perspective through which stories should be told…and the companies which control the media – on both sides – capitalize on creating echo chambers to lure folks in in order to line their pockets regardless of the damage it does to the society around them. If we can’t move beyond partisan name-calling, we are exacerbating the issue. Freedom of press should rise above it as well, no doubt (hence why there *should* be freedom of press). We would all do well to be careful of committing the same acts of judgment that we accuse others of doing with our own words. Common Sense will prevail – but this isn’t possible without accountability and humility – and fewer broad-stroke attacks from *both* sides.

  4. I stand by my comments above because without an unbiased media all we have is propaganda. Common Sense will prevail, no irony here.

  5. I applaud and respect Texas Democrats for attempting to stand up and what is right for all people, not just deluded republican loyalists. Pathetic RACIST loyalty groups must be disbanded and voted out of office! Fugitive=person who has escaped from a place or is in hiding, especially to avoid arrest or persecution. Sounds republican.
    “fugitives from In justice” Sounds Democratic if gov of Texas has his way.

  6. “Gov. Greg Abbott listed 11 items of interest for consideration during the special session, but his main priority is to pass a new election law, one that sets the most stringent rules in the nation. ”
    This assertion by you is not at all accurate, truthful or even researched for accuracy. Comments like this show your complete bias to the progressive, liberal, Marxist left. My question to you is simply why are you in journalism if you do not have the ability to report the unbiased truth that is so sorely lacking in our Country now? The good news is that your journalistic time in our community will be short as we have a tendency to demand the truth rather that your opinion.

    1. You are attacking a journalist without anything but partisan remarks. Care to stoop any lower? Why do you think some people are pissed off? There’s no compromise when the right and the left can’t have a cordial conversation. Get off your high horse and be part of the solution rather than continuing to dump fuel on the fire with copy/paste remarks that tear down. Both sides are guilty of this, sir. Rise above it with decency and fewer personal attacks.

  7. Go Democrats! Stand for what’s right not “Let’s change the law to help OUR party.”.

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