Texas Dems stage mass walkout, prevent vote on election law bill
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned state lawmakers that he would strip them of pay on Monday – a day after Democrats staged a mass walkout to block election legislation that they say would severely restrict voting rights in the Lone Star State.
“I will veto Article 10 of the budget passed by the legislature. Article 10 funds the legislative branch. No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities. Stay tuned,” Abbott, a Republican, posted on Twitter.
Democratic members of the state House orchestrated a walkout to ensure the chamber would not have a quorum necessary to vote on the Republican-backed measure before the legislative session ended at midnight, ensuring it wouldn’t get to the governor’s desk for his signature.
The House adjourned around 11 p.m. when it lacked the minimum number of lawmakers for the vote.
Abbott said he would call a special session to ensure the bill gets passed.
“I declared Election Integrity and Bail Reform to be must-pass emergency items for this legislative session. It is deeply disappointing and concerning for Texans that neither will reach my desk,” Abbott said in a statement.
The state Senate passed the legislation early Sunday 18-13, with all Democrats opposing it after seven hours of closed-door debate.
Republicans say the measures — which include banning drive-through voting, adding ID requirements for mail-in ballots and making it a criminal offense for election officials to send ballot applications to voters who haven’t asked for them — would protect the integrity of elections in the state.
Democrats said the legislation would do the opposite.
“We’ve said for so many years that we want more people to participate in our democracy. And it just seems that’s not the case,” Democratic state Rep. Carl Sherman said, according to the Houston Chronicle.
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