The Texas Legislature convened on Saturday for the second called special legislative session. 

Perhaps to no one’s surprise, when the House of Representatives attempted to gavel in, they lacked the attendance necessary to begin legislative business. In contrast, the Senate convened and immediately got to work referring bills to their respective committees, including the suspension of rules to allow for their consideration over the weekend.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the agenda for the ongoing special session on Thursday, which included the same items as the previous special session agenda along with some notable additions, leaving many Texans wondering what will change to compel currently absent Democrat lawmakers to return?

Will Republican Leadership Act?

Seemingly reluctant to exact any penalties whatsoever during the first called special session on lawmakers who fled Austin, will Republican leadership move to do anything this time?

The House attempted to gavel in but verified that they still lacked quorum, so they quickly moved on to the invocation and pledges. Immediately afterward, State Rep. Morgan Meyer (R–Dallas) made a motion to adjourn the House until Monday, August 9; the motion was granted, precluding any consideration of a parliamentary motion known as a “call of the House,” which would have authorized the House sergeant-at-arms to seek out absent lawmakers under warrant of arrest. This motion was employed in the first called special legislative session on the same day absent lawmakers busted quorum (July 13), ultimately to no avail.

Which Members Were Present?

When House lawmakers attempted to register their attendance, it became clear that only 81 were present and 68 were absent. 

Absent Democrat lawmakers included State Reps. Alma Allen (Houston), Rafael Anchia (Dallas), Michelle Beckley (Carroltton), Diego Bernal (San Antonio), Rhetta Bowers (Rowlett), John Bucy III (Cedar Park), Liz Campos (San Antonio), Terry Canales (Edinburg), Sheryl Cole (Austin), Garnet Coleman (Houston), Nicole Collier (Ft. Worth), Philip Cortez (San Antonio), Jasmine Crockett (Dallas), Yvonne Davis (Dallas), Joe Deshotel (Beaumont), Alex Dominguez (Brownsville), Harold Dutton (Houston), Art Fierro (El Paso), Barbara Gervin-Hawkins (San Antonio), Jessica Gonzalez (Dallas), Mary Gonzalez (El Paso), Vikki Goodwin (Austin), Ana Hernandez (Houston), Gina Hinojosa (Austin), Donna Howard (Austin), Celia Israel (Austin), Ann Johnson (Houston), Jarvis Johnson (Houston), Julie Johnson (Carroltton), Ray Lopez (San Antonio), Armando Martinez (Weslaco), Trey Martinez-Fischer (San Antonio), Terry Meza (Irving), Ina Minjarez (San Antonio), Joe Moody (El Paso), Christina Morales (Houston), Penny Morales Shaw (Houston), Sergio Munoz (Mission), Victoria Neave (D-Dallas), Claudia Ordaz Perez (El Paso), Lina Ortega (El Paso), Leo Pacheco (San Antonio), Mary Ann Perez (Houston), Ana-Maria Ramos (Richardson), Richard Pena Raymond (Laredo), Ron Reynolds (Missouri City), Eddie Rodriguez (Austin), Ramon Romero (Ft. Worth), Toni Rose (Dallas), Jon Rosenthal (Houston), Carl Sherman (DeSoto), James Talarico (Round Rock), Shawn Thierry (Houston), Senfronia Thompson (Houston), Chris Turner (Grand Prairie), Hubert Vo (Houston), Armando Walle (Houston), Gene Wu (Houston), and Erin Zwiener (Driftwood). 

Also absent were Republican State Reps. DeWayne Burns (Cleburne), Travis Clardy (Nacogdoches), Jay Dean (Longview), Gary Gates (Richmond), Dan Huberty (Humble), Lyle Larson (San Antonio), Chris Paddie (Marshall), Four Price (Amarillo), and John Smithee (Amarillo).

Notably, compared to when Democrat lawmakers broke quorum during the first special session, Democrat State Reps. Bobby Guerra (Mission), Abel Herrero (Robstown), Oscar Longoria (Mission), and Eddie Lucio III (Brownsville) have returned and were present today. Add this to the other Democrat lawmakers that stayed previously like Ryan Guillen (Rio Grande City), Tracy King (Uvalde), Eddie Morales (Eagle Pass), and John Turner (Dallas).

Theoretically, assuming all 83 Republicans were present and adding in the 8 Democrats who are also currently present, the total attendance would be brought to 91, just nine members short of the quorum needed to conduct legislative business.

After the House concluded its lack of business for the day, 26 House Democrat lawmakers released a statement indicating that they will be a part of an active presence in Washington, D.C., maintained for as long as Congress is working and making progress on federal voting rights legislation to “see this fight through.”


Jeramy Kitchen

Jeramy Kitchen serves as the Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard as well as host of 'This Week in Texas', a show previewing the week ahead in Texas politics. After managing campaigns for conservative legislators across the state, serving as Chief of Staff for multiple conservative state legislators, and serving as Legislative Director for the largest public policy think tank in Texas, Jeramy moved outside of the Austin bubble to focus on bringing transparency to the legislative process.