El Paso’s Caesar Blanco among 9 no-shows in Texas Senate, joins vote bill protest
AUSTIN, Texas — Nine Democratic Texas state senators traveled Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, joining their Texas House counterparts who fled the state Monday to block passage of GOP proposed voting restrictions legislation.
Among the nine is state Sen. Caesar Blanco of El Paso.
Sens. José Menéndez and Roland Gutierrez, both of San Antonio, Beverly Powell of Fort Worth, Borris Miles and Carol Alvarado, both of Houston, Sarah Eckhardt of Austin, and Royce West and Nathan Johnson, both from Dallas, also confirmed they had arrived in the nation’s capital Tuesday in solidarity with House Democrats.
“The bill is dead for now,” Eckhardt said. “And while it’s dead, we wanted to make sure those of us senators who came up, that we were seeing every opportunity available during this time to raise awareness of how damaging this bill is.”
Multiple senators said they plan to meet with members of Congress to shine a light on aspects of Senate Bill 1 that they oppose and encourage passage of federal voting rights legislation, but they could not share specific plans or how long they plan to be in Washington.
“I don’t want these bad bills — that are essentially nothing more than a show for Republican primary — to pass with little observation from the general public,” Johnson said. “And no matter how hard and fervently I argue in the Senate, it doesn’t get presented to the public. So let’s shine a spotlight on this stuff.”
In total, just four Democratic state senators were on the state Senate floor Tuesday when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick gaveled in for the day’s legislative activities.
The four Democrats who were present were Sens. Eddie Lucio Jr., Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, Judith Zaffirini and John Whitmire, enough for a quorum of the Senate to proceed with Tuesday’s activities.
“I want to thank the 22 of you who are here for a quorum today,” Patrick said, “as the Senate will do our business this week.”
The Senate could reportedly vote on SB 1, its version of the voting restrictions legislation, soon.
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