Texas House Advances Voter Restrictions After House Democrats Return To Austin
After three new Texas Democrats returned to the state House floor, marking the end to their historic quorum-breaking absence from the chamber, many Democrats fear the unexpected move will allow Republicans to pass restrictive voting legislation. The chamber now has the required two-thirds of members necessary for a quorum.
A public House committee hearing for the voting legislation has been rescheduled.
Fifty-two House Democrats fled the state 38 days ago in an attempt to halt the passing of restrictive voting bills.
The representatives who decided to return have since spoken out about their decision, saying they were “proud of the heroic work” they had done but “now, we continue the fight on the House floor.”
Rep. Garnet Coleman, one of the three returning Democrats, stated: “I pray that we, all of us look inside about where we want this world to go, this state, this House, and look at it from the perspective of trying to find as much common ground as can be found.”
Some fellow Democrats feel blindsided by their colleagues’ decision to return, however. State Rep. Donna Howard (D) released the following statement on Twitter: “This could have been shared with Caucus members beforehand.”
State Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (D) also chimed in on Twitter, saying: “We were literally on caucus calls for 2 hours this morning and none of the defecting Democrats mentioned they were planning on helping the Republicans pass voter suppression bills. Guess what the other defecting Democrats have accomplished by going back—NOTHING!”
Texas House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner took a gentler approach to address the quorum break. “By taking bold action and breaking quorum, House Democrats secured major victories for Texans and for voters across the country,” he said. “Through our determination and unity, we derailed Gov. Abbott’s entire first special session, preventing passage of anti-voter bills and other pointless, partisan legislation. Through our continued efforts, we have already burned up a third of Abbott’s second special session, which is nothing more than a prop for his re-election campaign.”