Gov. Greg Abbott, the Texas Republican, criticized state Democrats who fled to Washington, D.C., on Monday in an effort to deprive the Legislature of a quorum, thus the ability to vote on the GOP’s sweeping elections overhaul bill.
Abbott 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.
The exodus was the second time that Democratic lawmakers have staged a walkout on the voting overhaul, a measure of their fierce opposition to proposals they say will make it harder for young people, people of color, and people with disabilities to vote.
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.