Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to arrest the Democratic lawmakers who fled a special session in order to block Republican-backed election reform bills.
“Isn’t this the most un-Texan thing you’ve ever heard — Texans running from a fight? They’re quitters,” Abbott, a Republican, said on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” on Monday evening.
“Once they step back into the state they will be arrested and brought back to the Capitol and we will be conducting business,” the governor pledged.
Roughly 60 Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives traveled via two chartered flights to Washington, DC, on Monday to press Congress and the Biden administration to pass federal voting rights legislation.
The absence of the lawmakers means the House lacks a quorum and is unable to vote on any legislation.
It’s the second time Democrats acted to deprive the House a quorum.
They walked out of the chamber in the final hours of the regular legislative session on May 30 just hours before an expected vote on the election legislation.
Abbott said he will call for another special legislative session just as he did in May.
“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.”
Under House rules, the chamber can vote to lock the doors to prevent lawmakers from leaving and order law enforcement officials to track down and arrest any members who already fled, the Texas Tribune reported.
Republicans say the voting measures — ending 24-hour polling places, banning ballot drop boxes, and empowering partisan poll watchers — are designed to ensure the integrity of the vote by preventing voter fraud.
Democrats say the Republican plan is to hamper the voting process.