Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent out a press release on Monday July 12, 2021 condemning the Texas State House Democrats for leaving town to break the quorum needed to legislate in the special session. Gov. Abbott stated in his press release, “Texas Democrats’ decision to break a quorum of the Texas Legislature and abandon the Texas State Capitol inflicts harm on the very Texans who elected them to serve. As they fly across the country on cushy private planes, they leave undone issues that can help their districts and our state.
- property tax relief,
- funding to support Sheriffs and law enforcement in high crime areas,
- funding for children in foster care, and,
- funding for retired teachers.
The Democrats must put aside partisan political games and get back to the job they were elected to do. Their constituents must not be denied these important resources simply because their elected representative refused to show up to work.”
The Texas Democrats leaving the state stems from an election integrity bill (HB 6) from the regular session and introduced again in the special session, which the Lower Chamber Democrats do not agree with. According to state law, in order for a session to continue, there must be at least 2/3rds of the House body present. So it only takes 51 members to leave for the legislative session come to a halt. 51 Democrats chartered a bus to the airport to catch a couple of private planes to go to Washington DC.
Local State Representative Dustin Burrows said this about the Democrats leaving their post to stall the session saying, “It’s a sad commentary that we may have to utilize a procedural rule to try & force most of the Democrats to show up to do the job they were elected to do. Burrows also went on to say “unfortunately, the siren call of social media fame & fundraising has lured the Democrats to D.C.”
State Senator Charles Perry did not mince words as he said this on his Facebook page about the House Democrats leaving stating, “Today, House Democrats fled Texas to Washington, D.C. in protest of an election integrity bill that adds sensible voter protections and reaffirms current Texas law. They are running from a bill that extends voting hours and expands assistance for those who cannot read a ballot. Encouraged by far left activist groups, Texas Democrats chose to ignore their duty to serve the people of Texas. This is disrespectful of what a constitutional republic needs to function, but it is reflective a nation in distress where the rules do not matter.” Perry also weighed in on picture of the Democrats on the bus heading to the airport stating, “The case of Miller Lite on their party bus shows how seriously they are taking these shenanigans.”
This is not the first time that Texas House Democrats tried this strategy. In the 2003 Legislation when Republican Tom Craddick (R-Midland) was Speaker of the House and the Governor was Rick Perry. This dispute was over redistricting from the from the 2000 Census, which redistricting should have been done in 2001, however it failed during the 2001 session. The Democrats fled to Oklahoma where the Texas Rangers did not have jurisdiction to retrieve the Democrats. Also to note, no African American Democrat House member left the state because the redistricting plan offered more house seats to minorities.
Gov. Abbott spoke on Fox News the Ingram Angle with Laura Ingram about his next steps to get the Democrats back to Texas. Gov. Abbott told Ingram, “Once they step back into the state they will be arrested and brought back to the Capitol and we will be conducting business.” According to Gov. Abbott he willing to not back down and continue calling session after session. “We have special sessions that last 30 days,” Abbott said to Ingram. He went on to say, “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.”