Texas Democrat Lawmakers to Flee State, Risking Arrest, to Stop Republicans From Passing New Voting Laws
At least 58 Democrat members of the state House of Representatives will flee Texas and head to Washington DC to block Republicans from advancing new voting laws through a special session of the legislature.
Under the Texas Constitution, the lawmakers risk arrest by fleeing town during a special legislative session.
The new bills, House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 1 will add new ID requirements for mail-in voting and ban some early voting – floor votes on both bill were expected to take place this week, but Democrats are fleeing in private jets to block the measures.
Most of the Democrat lawmakers will take private jets to DC and may stay away from Texas for up to 30 days to paralyze the chamber.
NBC News reported:
With Republican-backed voting bills moving rapidly through a special session of the state Legislature, Texas Democrats are planning to make a break for it — again.
At least 58 Democratic members of the state House of Representatives are expected to bolt from Austin on Monday in an effort to block the measures from advancing, a source familiar with the plans told NBC News. The unusual move, akin to what Democrats did in 2003, would paralyze the chamber, stopping business until the lawmakers return to town or the session ends.
The lawmakers risk arrest in taking flight. Under the Texas Constitution, the Legislature requires a quorum of two-thirds of lawmakers be present to conduct state business in either chamber. Absent lawmakers can be legally compelled to return to the Capitol, and the source said Democrats expect state Republicans to ask the Department of Public Safety to track them down.
To block the currently pending legislation, the Democratic lawmakers would have to remain away through the end of the special session, which can last as many as 30 days under the state’s constitution.