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Texas House Republicans Vote To Send Police To Find And Arrest Absent Dem Lawmakers

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The Texas House just overwhelmingly voted to send law enforcement to track down Democrats who fled the state to try to block a new voting bill “under warrant of arrest if necessary.”

According to the Texas Tribune: “Rep. Will Metcalf, R-Conroe, chairman of the House Administration Committee, moved to issue what is known as a “call of the House” to try to regain quorum. That motion passed 76-4. Metcalf offered another motion, asking that “the sergeant at arms, or officers appointed by him, send for all absentees … under warrant of arrest if necessary.” That motion also passed 76-4.

“After Metcalf’s motions passed, Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, sought to move to strip absent Democrats of their committee leadership posts if they do not return by noon Wednesday. The motion did not immediately get a vote, and in a subsequent exchange with Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas, House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, said committee chairs and vice-chairs cannot be removed from their positions under the current chamber rules.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said earlier he wanted the legislature to vote to arrest the Dems and he would help in the process.

“We have special sessions that last 30 days,” Abbott said. “And the governor calls them, and I will continue calling special session after special session because over time it is going to continue until they step up to vote.”

“Once they step back into the state they will be arrested and brought back to the Capitol and we will be conducting business,” he said. “Texas Democrats’ decision to break a quorum of the Texas Legislature and abandon the Texas State Capitol inflicts harm on the very Texans who elected them to serve. As they fly across the country on cushy private planes, they leave undone issues that can help their districts and our state.”

The Texas Dems issued a press release that said: “Today, Texas House Democrats left the state and broke quorum to fight back against state Republicans’ continued attacks on Texans’ freedom to vote.

“Texas House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner, Mexican American Legislative Caucus Chair Rafael Anchía, Texas Legislative Black Caucus Chair Nicole Collier, Legislative Study Group Caucus Chair Garnet Coleman and Dean Senfronia Thompson released the following statement on the decision to break quorum:

“Today, Texas House Democrats stand united in our decision to break quorum and refuse to let the Republican-led legislature force through dangerous legislation that would trample on Texans’ freedom to vote.

“We are now taking the fight to our nation’s Capitol. We are living on borrowed time in Texas.

“We need Congress to act now to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to protect Texans — and all Americans — from the Trump Republicans’ nationwide war on democracy.”