Texas Democrats Who Stayed Behind Have Been Locked in the Texas Capitol
Earlier this week, over 50 Texas Democrats fled the state on chartered planes bound for Washington D.C. in order to stall passage of a controversial voting bill. Now, the few who stayed behind are under lock and key.
Those Who Stayed Behind
KTRK-TV reports that four House Democrats who stayed in Texas have been locked inside the House chamber. State Rep. Eddie Morales told the news outlet that he and his peers must ask permission to leave the chamber, whether it's to grab something to eat or use the restroom.
Meanwhile, the Austin American-Statesman reports that the House voted Tuesday to authorize arrest warrants for Democrats upon their return to Texas. The lawmakers would be forced to return to the state capitol building and carry out their duties.
Show of Solidarity
While the House Democrats who fled the state have grabbed all the headlines, the Statesman reports that nine Senate Dems left this week as well in a show of solidarity. However, NBC News reports that there were still enough state senators present to hold a vote on the Senate's version of the voting bill.
Texas Senate Passed the GOP Bill
Senate Bill 1 was passed by the state senate Tuesday evening. It's a a voting reform bill that restricts voting hours and methods, and provides expanded access and protections for partisan poll watchers.
Further action on this and the House version of the bill will have to wait until the absent Democratic lawmakers return.
What Are They Doing in Washington?
Aside from running down the clock on the current special session, Texas Democrats are throwing their support behind the passage of federal voting rights legislation, including the For The People Act, which call for an end to Congressional gerrymandering, clean up federal campaign finance laws, tighten defenses against foreign interference, reform ethics rules, and more.
Will This Tactic Work?
It's seems unlikely that Texas Democrats can prevent passage of voting reform bills in Texas. Governor Greg Abbott recently told Fox News he'll just call for more special sessions until it's done. Meanwhile, the absent Democratic lawmakers will be making fundraising efforts to pay for what the Texas Tribune calls their "decampment".
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