The Texas House voted Tuesday to have law enforcement track down Democratic lawmakers who fled the state to deny a quorum needed to pass a controversial elections bill, an escalation in the growing feud between the two parties over the legislation.
The chamber voted by a 76-4 margin to authorize law enforcement to return the Democrats to Austin after they flew to Washington, D.C., to prevent the elections bill from passing in a special legislative session.
The gambit left only 80 members present in the House. Of the 67 Democrats who serve in the chamber, only 4 were present. All four voted against the “call of the House.”
“Members, the sergeant-at-arms and the officers appointed by him are directed to send for all absentees whose attendance is not excused for the purpose of securing and maintaining their attendance — under warrant of arrest, if necessary,” state House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) said after the vote.
It is not clear precisely how much power the vote has, given that Texas law enforcement lacks any jurisdiction to operate in Washington.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has also threatened … (Read more)