It appears that those Democratic lawmakers who are currently AWOL will be returning back to the state Capital in handcuffs.
On Tuesday, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan reportedly signed civil arrest warrants for the 52 or so legislators who skipped town rather than doing their sworn duty and voting on the Republican authored bill concerning voting integrity.
The Democratic lawmakers actually abandoned their jobs while the legislative assembly was in session and flew away to Washington, D.C. There they promptly infected a number of their colleagues because they didn’t follow mask protocol when flying.
According to the Texas Tribune, the arrest warrants “will be delivered to the House Sergeant-at-Arms tomorrow morning for service.”
Some Democratic lawmakers did return back to Texas last week after a district court judge granted a temporary restraining order barring Abbott from ordering their arrest.
However, the Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday overrode the temporary restraining order, allowing Democratic lawmakers who fled the state last month to be arrested upon their return if they continue obstructing the process.
Governor Abbott’s spokesperson, Renae Eze, told Fox News, “The Supreme Court of Texas swiftly rejected this dangerous attempt by Texas Democrats to undermine our Constitution and avoid doing the job they were elected to do.”
Adding, “We look forward to the Supreme Court upholding the rule of law and stopping another stall tactic by the Texas Democrats.”
Under Texas law in order to pass legislation the Texas House of Representatives requires a quorum. This is the minimum number of members required to conduct official business. Currently about 25 out of 67 Democrats are still AWOL making it impossible to conduct government business.
Lawmakers who have already returned to the Lone Star State are required to go to Austin to establish a quorum. If they refuse or obstruct the process in any way they will be arrested.
Democratic lawmaker Ron Reynolds posted a video on his Twitter page stating, “We would be going to a jail, we would be going to the House chambers where they would basically be forcing a quorum.”
FIGHTING BACK: Rep. @ronereynolds says they are not done fighting arrest warrants. He says they have a full hearing coming up to get the judge's ruling. He's in D.C. & doesn't think the House will get quorum today. Here's what he says would happen if a Rep. gets arrested. @KHOU pic.twitter.com/RqRMzqgOpY— Janelle Bludau (@JanelleKHOU) August 10, 2021
Adding, “They would take us against our will to the House floor.”
Reynolds continued stating “We will continue to fight against the Republicans Voter Suppression bills. We are planning on staying in D.C. advocating for federal voting rights legislation until the U.S. Senate goes on August recess towards the end of the week.”
At last count, 25 Texas Democrats are still in Washington, D.C. and 4 additional lawmakers have just returned back to Austin to do the job they were elected to do. Those include state Representatives James Talarico, Joe Moody, Mary Gonzalez, and Art Fierro.
However, this silly and brazen stunt by disgruntled Democrats fleeing the state rather than voting on a piece of legislation they don’t agree with has set the wheels in motion to reform the current law by requiring a quorum.
Republicans (who are in the majority) are considering legislation that would in effect end a prolonged interruption by disgruntled lawmakers who suddenly decide to flee.
The new resolution being proposed would allow for a simple majority of lawmakers to be present which would in effect end any future theatrics by angry Democrats attempting to hold the legislative assembly hostage.
.@KenPaxtonTX on Texas Democrats: "The Governor's going to keep calling them back and they should come back, eventually, they're going to have to vote." https://t.co/VlT7z8drtO pic.twitter.com/tKfzidQILC— Newsmax (@newsmax) August 7, 2021
The proposed resolution would require at least a 2/3 vote from both Houses to move the proposal forward. However, in order to reach that threshold at least 3 Senate Democrats and 18 House Democrats would need to vote “yes” on the resolution.
Republican Texas Sen. Brian Birdwell said during a public hearing Monday. “Our state cannot allow a minority of lawmakers to wield such a disproportionate power so as to render the Texas Legislature incapable of responding to our state’s needs.”