Democrats Who 'Fled' Texas over Elections Bill Will Be Arrested, Gov Abbott Confirms
Republican Governor Greg Abbott confirms plan to arrest lawmakers upon return
Texas Democrats who fled the state to protest election integrity laws will be arrested upon their return, Republican Governor Greg Abbott has warned.
Democrat members of the Texas State Legislature were pictured smiling gleefully as they boarded a private jet to flee from Texas to Washington, DC, on Monday.
The move was part of the Democratic lawmakers' protest to halt the Texas GOP's efforts to strengthen election safeguards in the Lone Star State.
In May, Texas Democrats thwarted the effort at the end of the 2021 regular session by staging a walkout.
The move left Republicans without a quorum to vote on the measure, Senate Bill 7.
Gov. Abbott responded by vowing to dock the pay of Democrats "who abandon their responsibilities" to block the voting rights bill.
Abbott blasted state Democrats who fled to Washington, D.C., this week in an effort to deprive the Legislature of a quorum, thus the ability to vote on the GOP's sweeping elections overhaul bill.
The governor appeared on "The Ingraham Angle" on Monday to defend the bill and say the missing lawmakers will be arrested upon their return to the state.
He said members of the Texas House of Representatives who are still in the state can call for the arrests of their colleagues who do not show up to vote.
The one caveat is the arrest has to be made in the state.
"Once they step back into the state they will be arrested and brought back to the Capitol and we will be conducting business," he said.
Republicans argue the contentious bill would provide greater election security, while Democrats claim, without evidence, that it would suppress voter turnout of minorities.
The exodus was the second time that Democratic lawmakers have staged a walkout on the voting overhaul.
The move is a measure of their fierce opposition to proposals they falsely claim will make it harder for young people, people of color, "rural communities," and people with disabilities to vote.
ON PLANE TO DC: Texas Democratic lawmakers are leaving state to break quorum to stop Republican voting bill. Veteran Capitol observers say this is unchartered territory. Photo from Democrat on the plane. https://t.co/YOuOMb0A2m pic.twitter.com/abWoARvFIC— ScottGordonNBC5 (@ScottGordonNBC5) July 12, 2021
But like last month’s effort, there remains no clear path for Democrats to permanently block the voting measures or a list of other contentious GOP-backed proposals up for debate.
"We have special sessions that last 30 days," Abbott said.
"And the governor calls them, and I will continue calling special session after special session because over time it is going to continue until they step up to vote."
As they arrived in Washington Monday evening, the lawmakers said they would not be swayed.
"We are determined to kill this bill," said state Rep. Chris Turner, who said he and his colleagues were prepared to run out the clock on a special session that ends early next month.