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Texas House Speaker signs warrant to arrest Democratic lawmakers ‘on the run’

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan on Tuesday (August 10, US time) signed civil arrest warrants for 52 Texas House Democrats. These legislators have been deliberately not going to the state Capitol to work to obstruct the Republican Party from passing electoral reform legislation.

House Speaker Dade Phelan signed arrest warrants Tuesday evening for Democrats who broke quorum to block a controversial GOP elections bill. The warrants will be delivered to the House Sergeant-at-Arms Wednesday. Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

52 Democratic lawmakers left the Texas Capitol last month to keep their Republican colleagues from getting the necessary numbers of congressmen to vote on the election law.

Unlike other states that only require a majority of congressmen to be present in a legislative session, the Texas congress requires two-thirds of congressmen to be present for a vote on new bills to proceed. onion. The Texas House of Representatives has 150 members and Republicans have a majority, but not enough two-thirds.

According to the Texas Tribune, a spokesman for Texas House Speaker Phelan said on Tuesday that arrest warrants “will be forwarded to the House Guard tomorrow morning for enforcement.”

Many Democrats have now returned to Texas, but they do not come to Congress to work.

Arrest warrants issued by the Texas House of Representatives will allow lawmakers to travel to the state Capitol to work, but the warrants do not involve criminal charges or fines.

Before being signed by Speaker Phelan, the Texas House of Representatives voted to issue arrest warrants with 80 votes in favor and 12 against, the Dallas Morning reported. The only Republican to vote against was Representative Lyle Larson. The congressman wrote on Twitter that the act of ordering the arrest of his own colleagues was “abhorrent”.

Hours before the vote above by the Texas House of Representatives, the state Supreme Court overturned the decision to suspend the arrest warrant issued by the lower court a day earlier.

Immediately after the ruling from the Texas Supreme Court, Governor Greg Abbott (Republican) declared victory. “The Supreme Court of Texas was quick to dismiss the dangerous attempt by the Texas Democrats when they wanted to damage our Constitution and avoid doing the job they were supposed to do,” he said. elected to do”.

Earlier, on Saturday (August 7), Texas lawmakers returned to a special session for the second time under the summons of Governor Abbott, but the House of Representatives still did not have enough two-thirds of the members to follow. required to conduct a vote on the bills, KFOX 14 in El Paso reported.

Also according to KFOX 14, Representative Chris Turner, Chairman of the Democratic Delegation to the Texas House of Representatives, on August 10 issued a statement saying that congressmen have full authority to use the two-thirds rule. to protect the constituency they represent. Mr. Turner emphasized that the Texas Democrats are committed to fighting with everything they have to counter Republican attacks on people’s right to freely vote.

Democrats accuse the electoral reform bill of obstructing voters and infringing on the right to vote of people, especially minorities. Meanwhile, Republicans argue that provisions in the bill such as requiring voters to vote by mail must prove their identity, banning voting while voters are still in their cars and extending voting times. early is to ensure safer elections.

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