Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Democrat state legislators who left a special session to protest against a voting overhaul bill “will be arrested” when they return from Washington D.C.
The lawmakers on Monday announced that they left Texas to deny Republican lawmakers quorum to convene the special legislative session to consider an election overhaul in the state and confirmed they left on a charter flight to Washington. Members of the Democrat caucus staged a similar walkout on May 30 to block the election overhaul bill, which calls for limits on early and curbside voting, bans 24-hour voting centers, limits the usage of ballot drop-boxes, and other provisions.
Abbott, a Republican, told KVUE-TV that his office and the House speaker’s office have the power to arrest the lawmakers until they “get the job done.”
“There is something the governor can do. First of all, I’ll tell you what the House of Representatives can do. What the speaker can do is issue a call to have these members arrested,” Abbott said. “In addition to that, however, I can and I will continue to call a special session after special session after special session all the way up until election next year.”
Abbott said that the Democrats are “going to have to be prepared to do it for well over a year.”
“As soon as they come back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done,” Abbott remarked.
“Everybody who has a job must show up to do that job, just like your viewers watching right now. State representatives have that same responsibility.”
When the House convenes Tuesday, if there is no quorum, any House member can make a call for a quorum to consider a bill, resolution, or motion, according to the House rules. The motion then has to be supported by 15 members and ordered via a majority vote, noted the Texas Tribune.
If the motion is supported, the missing Democrats will then become essentially fugitives.