The group of some 50 Democratic lawmakers from Texas who made national headlines last month for fleeing the state in order to bust up a special session vote on a Republican-led voter integrity bill might soon regret that move.
According to The Daily Wire, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) followed through on Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) threat to arrest the unruly Dems, as this week he formally signed 52 arrest warrants for the Democrats who have, so far, managed to disrupt a second special session in the state legislature.
Phelan’s move came shortly after the Texas Supreme Court overturned an earlier decision by an Austin-based judge who issued a restraining order that would have protected the Democrats from being arrested upon their return to the state.
“The Supreme Court of Texas swiftly rejected this dangerous attempt by Texas Democrats to undermine our Constitution and avoid doing the job they were elected to do,” said Renae Eze, a spokesperson for the governor.
What’s going on now?
A small number of the Democrats who originally fled the state to disrupt the first special session are now reportedly holding out from home, according to ABC News.
“I am hoping they will come because the warrants have been issued and they don’t want to be arrested,” said State Rep. Jim Murphy (R). “It is incredible to me that you have to arrest people to do the job they campaigned for, for which they took an oath of office to uphold the Texas constitution.”
“We had many heated debates in Washington as we debated our own next steps,” Rep. James Talarico (D), one of the Dems who returned home. “I’m going to keep those arguments in private. But I know emotions are rightfully running high everywhere, and it’s been a difficult month.”
As of this week, only five more Texas lawmakers are needed to be present for the special session to continue its work, including the likely passing of a new voter integrity bill.
Talarico and the Democrats who returned home from D.C. were slammed by their colleagues, with Democratic state Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos suggesting that they “threw us under the bus.”
Democrats double down
Even with arrest warrants issued, the debacle might not be coming to a close anytime soon, as a number of Democratic-aligned groups released a statement on Tuesday essentially encouraging the Texas Democrats to stay strong and hold out for as long as it takes, the Texas Tribune reported.
“To every pro-democracy Texas lawmaker: the only way to preserve our right to vote and the best way to fight is to stay off the House floor,” the joint statement read.
Only time will tell if Texas Republicans are ever able to pass much-needed voter integrity laws for the upcoming election season, but it’s clear that this ridiculous stunt by Texas Democrats is far from over.