Texas Democrat lawmakers fled the state to block a Republican-led election bill. Reports claim a charter plane carrying Texas House members departed from Austin, headed to Washington, DC around 4 PM on Monday.
The lawmakers involved have vowed to remain out of the state until the special legislative session is over on August 6. Lawmakers will not be able to pass legislation without those members present, as they do not meet the minimum requirement, known as a quorum.
Governor Greg Abbott released a statement saying, “As they fly across the country on cushy private planes, they leave undone issues that can help their districts & our state. The Democrats must put aside partisan political games and get back to the job they were elected to do.” He continued, “Their constituents must not be denied these important resources simply because their elected representative refused to show up for work.”
Democrats did something similar in May of 2021, regarding the same voting bill. At the time, FBA reported, “Their move effectively killed Senate Bill 7 for this year’s legislative session. But it could soon be revived: Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Sunday night that he is adding ‘election integrity’ to a list of topics lawmakers will address in a special session he plans to call.”
Senate Bill 7, the legislation in question, aims to change existing voting rules, including shortening early voting hours and banning drive-through voting. The Senate bill also prohibits election officials from sending out mail voting applications to voters unless they individually requested the forms, and requires disabled voters to provide proof of disability from a physician or the federal government.
A poll by the Texas Public Policy Foundation in July of 2021 found, “More than half of Texans (54%) said they do not support members staging walkouts that would deny the Legislature the quorum it needs in order to hold votes. Just 27% of Texans say they support the moves.”
Democrats’ decision to stage a walkout may impact their pay and future elections. After the May incident, Abbott said, “I will veto Article 10 of the budget passed by the legislature. Article 10 funds the legislative branch. No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities.”
ARTICLE: ANTOINETTE AHO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: LA TIMES
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