Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered a new special legislative session to pass a Republican-backed voting law, although dozens of House Democrats are still out of the state and remain in Washington.
The announcement comes after more than 50 Democrats left Texas on July 12 to avoid voting on an election reform bill. In late May, hours before the legislative session was slated to end, Democrats walked out of the House and denied Republicans the ability to vote on the bill.
In mid-July, House Speaker Dade Phelan, a Republican, announced that the lawmakers would face the threat of arrest for breaking quorum. Abbott, also a Republican, said at the time that he will persist in calling special sessions to deal with what he described as outstanding issues that need to be dealt with.
“I will continue to call special session after special session to reform our broken bail system, uphold election integrity, and pass other important items that Texans demand and deserve,” Abbott said in a statement on Aug. 5. “Passing these Special Session agenda items will chart a course towards a stronger and brighter future for the Lone Star State.”
The special session, he said, will begin Aug. 7.
State Democrats didn’t immediately respond to the governor’s statement on Aug. 5. The Epoch Times has reached out to the Texas Democratic Party for comment.
State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, a Democrat, told The Washington Post on Aug. 4: “As we approach the end of the first ‘Suppression Session’ and there’s a threat of a second, we will put all our options on the table again—the same options we used in May, the same options we used in July. Nothing has changed in our calculus. We have options, we can use them, and by now, Republicans know that we mean what we say.”
Another Democrat lawmaker, Rep. Gina Hinojosa, said on Aug. 3 that breaking quorum is a “tool in our toolbox.”
Democratic state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez said on Aug. 4, “A vast majority, enough to break quorum, have committed to each other to not be in the Capitol when the second called session happens.”
It’s unclear whether the Democrats will stay out of Texas for another month due to a new legislative session being called by Abbott.
Democrats have argued that the GOP-backed voting overhaul bill would unfairly target minority groups in the Lone Star State, while Republicans have said the measure is needed to safeguard future elections and would restore the public’s confidence in them.
From The Epoch Times