Recently, a high-ranked Texas legislator signed arrest warrants for all 52 Democrats who deliberately obstructed quorum by walking out of Texas’s House of Representatives in the previous month. The walkout was an effort to prevent a voter integrity bill from being passed.
Other GOP legislators approved of the arrest warrants.
Dade Phelan, who serves as the Texas House Speaker, signed the warrants, and these warrants are currently awaiting delivery to the House Sergeant-at-Arms, as verified by a spokesman for Phelan.
Moreover, the motion to make the absentee legislators passed by 80 to 12, and only one Republican voted against the measure.
Multiple dozens of Democrat legislators fled from Texas in July in order to travel to Washington, D.C. in a failed attempt to block the voting bill after Texas Governor Greg Abbott called a special session in order to pass the voter integrity bill.
Abbott was forced to call a special session due to Democrat rebellion in May, wherein the Democrats attempted to crush the GOP’s plans to implement voter integrity legislation. Joe Biden has called this legislation an “assault on democracy,” as well as a form of voter suppression.
Since the Democrats were deliberately absent, the Texas House of Representatives did not have sufficient quorum to pass any legislation.
At this point in time, at least two dozen Democrat legislators remain in Washington.
Chris Turner, who is the Texas House Democratic Caucus leader, claims that the Democrats are “fully within [their] rights as legislators to break quorum to protect our constituents.”
Turner also accused the GOP of attacking the “freedom to vote.”
The voter integrity legislation included measures to protect the integrity of elections, particularly with regards to mail-in voting. For instance, the legislation would ban mail-in ballots being sent to individuals who did not request them.
Supporters of the legislation, also known as Senate Bill 7, would ensure the security of elections. However, Democrats have insisted that the legislation is prejudiced against minorities.
Recently, the Texas Supreme Court overturned a previous ruling, which enabled Governor Abbott to pursue arrests of the Democrats. The warrants followed within hours of the ruling.
In the meantime, Austin-based Democrats have spent the vast majority of their time in Washington, pleading with federal lawmakers to intervene in Texas’s affairs.
Democrats have also claimed that state legislatures are motivated by passing these measures now after Trump reportedly lost the presidential elections last year.
At this point in time, even if the Democrat legislators are arrested and subsequently brought to the House of Representatives, especially since it is unclear whether or not enough representatives will still be present to hold quorum.
These concerns have mounted due to the fact that Texas police cannot force Democrats who are still in Washington to return home and ensure quorum.