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Texas House GOP votes to track down absent Dems, arrest them

Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives speak to reporters after arriving in Washington, D.C.
REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein via Texas Tribune
Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives speak to reporters after arriving in Washington, D.C.

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas House voted Tuesday morning to send law enforcement to track down Democrats who left the state a day earlier in protest of Republicans’ priority elections bill “under warrant of arrest if necessary.”

More than 50 state House Democrats left Monday for Washington, D.C., to deny the chamber a quorum as it takes up voting restrictions and other GOP priorities in special session.

The impact of the House move is unclear since the Texas law enforcement lacks jurisdiction in the nation's capital.

Meeting shortly after 10 a.m., the House quickly established that it lacked the two-thirds quorum required to do business, with only 80 of 150 members participating in a test vote.

Then Rep. Will Metcalf, R-Conroe, chairman of the House Administration Committee, moved to issue what is known as a “call of the House” to try to regain quorum. That motion passed 76-4. Metcalf offered another motion, asking that “the sergeant at arms, or officers appointed by him, send for all absentees … under warrant of arrest if necessary.” That motion also passed 76-4.

Metcalf's motions were opposed by four Democrats who were present on the House floor Tuesday morning: Reps. Ryan Guillen of Rio Grande City, Tracy King of Batesville, Eddie Morales Jr. of Eagle Pass and John Turner of Dallas.

After Metcalf's motions passed, Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, sought to move to strip absent Democrats of their committee leadership posts if they do not return by noon Wednesday. The motion did not immediately get a vote, and in a subsequent exchange with Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas, House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, said committee chairs and vice chairs cannot be removed from their positions under the current chamber rules.

Earlier Tuesday morning, Gov. Greg Abbott said in a radio interview that any Democrat who fled the state should lose their committee leadership posts.

News / Politics / Texas / Top Stories

Texas Tribune

Comments

11 Comments

  1. You can send any Texas peace officer to DC you want, but the problem is they have the same arrest powers in DC as they would in Bangladesh, and I doubt the DC or Capitol police will help, even if there’s an extradition order. I already saw one Texas GOP legislator, Matt Sheehan, said it was highly unlikely you’d see any of the Dems in handcuffs. If you’re getting your jollies just thinking about a plane load of Dems in handcuffs, you’re either delusional or have no clue how this stuff plays out. This has happened in Texas before. Heck, the GOP has done it in Oregon twice before, too. Nobody was ever arrested in any of those incidents.

      1. And they have to come back to Texas sometime. Unless they will be permanently funded by soros. And if they want to run for reelection they have to be residing in Texas. After a certain amount of time of absence they can be called non residents.

  2. So far the ActBlue contributions total around $142K. That’s not enough for one homeless person to make it in D.C. for one month. It’s a lost cause.

  3. Too easy to track them down in D.C. Just look for all the fat and ugly people at the U.S. Capitol taking selfies, making inane videos, appearing on CNN and drinking beer.

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