Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Democrat state legislators who left a special session to protest against a voting overhaul bill “will be arrested” when they return from Washington D.C.
The lawmakers on Monday announced that they left Texas to deny Republican lawmakers quorum to convene the special legislative session to consider an election overhaul in the state and confirmed they left on a charter flight to Washington. Members of the Democrat caucus staged a similar walkout on May 30 to block the election overhaul bill, which calls for limits on early and curbside voting, bans 24-hour voting centers, limits the usage of ballot drop-boxes, and other provisions.
Abbott, a Republican, told KVUE-TV that his office and the House speaker’s office have the power to arrest the lawmakers until they “get the job done.”
“There is something the governor can do. First of all, I’ll tell you what the House of Representatives can do. What the speaker can do is issue a call to have these members arrested,” Abbott said. “In addition to that, however, I can and I will continue to call a special session after special session after special session all the way up until election next year.”
Abbott said that the Democrats are “going to have to be prepared to do it for well over a year.”
“As soon as they come back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done,” Abbott remarked.
“Everybody who has a job must show up to do that job, just like your viewers watching right now. State representatives have that same responsibility.”
The reason for the walkout, according to Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, is to prevent the bill from passing. Democrats have said the measure would place undue stress on minority voters, saying it would suppress their ability to cast ballots.
“After Abbott dragged lawmakers back to the Capitol for his suppression session,” Hinojosa said, “Democrats are fighting back with everything we’ve got.”
And their decision on Monday as a Texas state House committee on Sunday voted to advance a bill that would bring back a number of voting integrity-related proposals that didn’t pass during the previous session. Later on Sunday, Senate lawmakers advanced their version of the voting legislation in a committee vote.
Both Abbott and state Republicans have argued that the bill is necessary to protect elections and restore the public’s confidence in the state election system.
“By and large, individual voters are trying to vote. They’re trying to do the right thing,” Republican State Sen. Bryan Hughes said told KWTX over the weekend. “We want them to do that. The security measures in this bill, by and large, are directed at vote harvesters or folks who are trying to steal votes.”
When he announced the special legislative session, Abbott also said he wants lawmakers to consider measures targeting bail reform and critical race theory in schools. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he wants a bill to prevent biological males from competing in women’s and girl’s sports.
The Epoch Times has contacted the Texas Democratic Party for comment.