Texas’ House of Representatives has been left paralyzed and unable to conduct legislative business since Democrat lawmakers broke quorum on Tuesday, but the Republican speaker of the House still hasn’t taken action approved by members to round up the no-shows.
Almost immediately after attempting to gavel in the House, a successful parliamentary motion was made for a call of the House that ultimately passed by a vote of 76-4.
This motion served to deploy the House sergeant-at-arms to locate all members who are not present and secure a quorum “under warrant of arrest if necessary.”
Since then, reports have indicated that some of those Democrat lawmakers who did not show up are still in the state of Texas—rather than with the majority of their caucus in Washington, D.C.—or have since returned from D.C..
House Lawmaker in Contact with Texas Department of Public Safety
On Thursday, State Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R–Fredericksburg) revealed no action has yet been taken on House members’ motion. “I have been in direct contact with both DPS and the sergeant-at-arms, and they have not been directed to go and retrieve the Democrats who are currently still in Texas. I am tired of the political theatre from both sides of the aisle. I am calling on Governor Abbott and Speaker Phelan to rectify this situation and instruct DPS to enforce the call of the House.”
A Recent Example of an Absent Lawmaker Who is Still in Texas
Democrat State Rep. Leo Pacheco (San Antonio) admitted he was still located in the state on Wednesday, indicating on a Facebook post that he “[has] to work for a living and can’t afford to be away from Texas.” In a separate post, he warned that if he was “found” by the sergeant-at-arms or DPS, he “won’t go friendly like.”
Pacheco is the current vice chairman of the House Higher Education Committee and is also a member of the House General Investigating and Licensing and Administrative Procedures committees.