Texas Democrats nonetheless refused to return to the state Capitol Saturday as Gov. Greg Abbott started a 3rd try at passing new election legal guidelines, prolonging a monthslong standoff that ramped up in July when some Democratic state lawmakers fled the state and hunkered down in Washington.
“A quorum shouldn’t be current,” Republican Home Speaker Dade Phelan mentioned Saturday afternoon. Simply minutes later, he adjourned the chamber till Monday.
Though the exact whereabouts of all the greater than 50 Democrats who bolted some 27 days in the past was unknown, not sufficient of them confirmed up within the state Home of Representatives to provide Republicans the quorum required to start work on a brand new particular session.
Abbott, a Republican who’s up for reelection in 2022, has threatened Democrats with arrest in an effort to compel them again to the Capitol, though state troopers haven’t any jurisdiction past Texas.
Nonetheless, Democratic leaders haven’t dedicated to sitting out your entire 30-day session, leaving open the likelihood that sufficient may return in some unspecified time in the future to finish the stalemate. Republicans need to advance an overhaul of elections in Texas beneath laws that largely stays the identical regardless of the months of walkouts and protests by Democratic lawmakers.
Texas would ban 24-hour polling areas, drive-thru voting and provides partisan ballot watchers extra entry beneath the invoice that Republicans have been getting ready to passing in Might. However that effort was foiled by Democrats abruptly leaving the Capitol in a late-night walkout.
Democrats made a much bigger gambit — by decamping to Washington, D.C., on chartered jets — to expire the clock on the GOP’s second strive. Democrats had hoped to exert stress on President Joe Biden and Congress to go federal voting rights laws, however a Senate Republican filibuster continues to dam such a measure.
Biden by no means met with the Texas Democrats within the nation’s capital. The group was shortly pressured to vary some plans after a number of of their members examined optimistic for COVID-19. Studies that two Democrats snuck away to Europe additionally led to dangerous headlines and invited mockery from Republicans again house.
There was a latest sharp surge in COVID-19 infections in Texas, the place the variety of folks hospitalized with the virus stands at greater than 8,500 sufferers, the very best quantity since February. However Abbott has remained adamant that Texas wouldn’t deliver again pandemic restrictions or masks mandates and has prohibited colleges from requiring face coverings. Lots of the state’s 5 million college students are scheduled to return to lecture rooms this month.
Whereas many Democrats have been tight-lipped about their plans, state Rep. Vicki Goodwin revealed hours earlier than the beginning of the brand new session Saturday that she could be amongst these nonetheless staying away.
“Sadly, the Gov selected so as to add divisive points which will likely be dangerous to many individuals. I can’t abide by the Gov’s order,” she tweeted. “I cannot be returning to the Home flooring this morning.”