After nearly a month of freezing progress in the Texas House, the chamber is still short of enough members to conduct business, even as more Democrats have trickled back to the state Capitol.
On July 12, Texas House Democrats left for Washington, D.C., in order to break quorum and stop progress of election integrity legislation during a 30-day special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott.
With that session having ended on Friday and a second special session having begun on Saturday, a critical amount of Democrat lawmakers have come back to Austin.
Quorum is currently constitutionally set at two-thirds of members.
Not all Democrats were cordial towards the defectors. Some who stayed in D.C. posted messages expressing their disappointment with their colleagues who came back.
“I’ve said this before… it’s a Team Sport… now we see who plays what positions on the Team… The fact that some of us secured a Temporary Restraining Order to protect ALL of us, yet some are trying to please the Governor and His OPPRESSIVE Agenda?! JUST WOW!,” said State Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D–Dallas), referring to an order recently released from an Austin judge that prohibits Democrats from being arrested and brought back to the Capitol.
“Democrats like [John Turner] and [James Talarico] checked in today to help Republicans pass anti-voter bills. There is currently an injunction stopping TX from arresting Democrats, yet these Democrats on the floor today chose to participate in voter suppression,” said State Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos, later saying Democrats such as State Reps. Mary Gonzales (El Paso) and Joe Moody “threw us under the bus.”
According to the roll taken, the chamber had 95 members present, just five shy of the 100 needed to begin work.
After waiting for more than two hours for members to return to the chamber, State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) motioned for a “call of the House,” locking the doors and directing the sergeant-at-arms to send for absent members.
State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City) says he went to the back microphone in an attempt to ask Speaker Dade Phelan how many arrest warrants will be issued, since only one had been issued during the previous special session. Phelan did not acknowledge Slaton.
Shortly thereafter, permission slips were given to members to leave the chamber.
The House will stand at ease until 4 p.m. on Tuesday.