Unable to make quorum, Texas House orders arrest of missing Dems
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday afternoon to authorize law enforcement to track down Democrats absent from the chamber and bring them back to the state Capitol, “under warrant of arrest, if necessary.”
The 80-12 vote came hours after the Texas Supreme Court ordered that those missing Democrats, many of whom left the state last month to block a GOP voting bill, could soon be detained by state authorities. The order by the all-GOP court came at the request of Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan, fellow Republicans who had asked the court Monday to overturn a ruling from a state district judge that blocked those leaders from ordering the arrest of the quorum-breaking Democrats.
Since the Legislature gaveled in Saturday for its second special session ordered by Abbott, the House has been unable to make a quorum as dozens of Democrats have remained absent from the chamber.
When the House was unable to meet its 100-member threshold for a quorum Monday, members adopted a procedural move known as a “call of the House” in an effort to secure a quorum. That move locks doors to the chamber and prevents members on the floor from leaving unless they have permission in writing from the speaker.
Tuesday’s vote marked the second time in recent weeks that the chamber has voted to send law enforcement after Democrats still missing from the House.
During the first special session in July, and after more than 50 House Democrats flew to Washington, D.C., members present authorized state authorities to track down their colleagues — but the move carried little weight since law enforcement lacks jurisdiction outside the state.
By the time that first 30-day stretch ended last week, Phelan had signed only one civil arrest warrant, for Rep. Philip Cortez, a San Antonio Democrat. But that move came too late since Cortez, who had briefly returned to Austin, had already gone back to the nation’s capital.
The post Unable to make quorum, Texas House orders arrest of missing Dems appeared first on KVIA.