Local lawmakers react to Texas House Democrats walkout
SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - House Democrats in Texas left Monday afternoon for Washington D.C. to deny a quorum, and therefore a vote on new voting laws in the state, causing the special session to be at a standstill.
Sen. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) and Rep. Reggie Smith (R-Sherman), both said even after the Democrats walked out in regular session in May, they were still surprised they did it again, but this time, they are not sure this can be fixed before funding for the legislature runs out.
“I’m very upset for all Texans. This is ridiculous. This is the business of Texas. We are here to handle the business of Texas, and they’ve chosen not to do that,” Smith said.
57 House Democrats walked out of the special legislative session Monday and chartered 3 planes to Washington D.C.
The house must have 100 members present to vote, but that only left 93.
Only 80 people showed up on Tuesday, putting a halt to any legislation passing the house.
“I’m just going to stay here as long as it takes and I know my colleagues are. We’re committed to making sure that the process see’s it’s way through and we get done for Texas what needs to get done,” Smith said.
On the agenda, and not getting accomplished, are things like voting laws that would put an end to 24-hour polling locations, drive thru voting and would strengthen ID and mail-in voting restrictions as well as retired teacher bonuses and transgender athlete bans for school sports.
“Well, it means bad things for Texas. They have a responsibility not only to themselves but to their constituents and to the state to take part in the legislative process,” Smith said.
House Democrats have said they intend to stay in D.C. until the session is over on August 6th.
“I hope we are better than that. I hope they come back, they prove their point. Let’s get back to work and let’s do the work of the Texas people,” Springer said.
Time is ticking. Funding runs out for the legislature, staffers and legislative agencies on August 31st.
“Texas is better than this,” Springer said.
If Governor Abbott is not satisfied with what is accomplished, he can call another 30 day session.
“But we are resolute and we are ready and willing to stay at the table as long as it takes to get it done,” Smith said.
Governor Abbott said any of the lawmakers who fled the state will be arrested upon their return and brought back to the Capitol.
A ‘call of the house’ motion was made Tuesday on the floor to compel all members of the House to appear in the chamber, but the missing members still haven’t showed.
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