Jul 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Gov. Abbott: Democratic lawmakers who fled Texas over voting bill will be arrested upon return

A group of Texas House Democrats who fled the state to block a Republican-led effort to pass a new voting law will be arrested "as soon as they come back," Gov. Greg Abbott (R) told Fox News late Monday.

Driving the news: Abbott's warning comes after the Democratic lawmakers left the state for Washington, D.C., Monday night to block the legislation via a lack of quorum in the chamber.

  • The lawmakers, who said the law would "trample on Texans' freedom to vote," said they will stay away for as long as they need to to prevent the legislation from passing, which would require them to stay out of the state for the remainder of the special session.
  • They said they were flying to D.C. to demand that Congress pass the For the People Act.

What he's saying: "As soon as they come back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done," Abbott said.

  • "I can and I will continue to call a special session after special session after special session all the way up until election next year. And so if these people want to be hanging out wherever they're hanging out on this taxpayer-paid junket, they're going to have to be prepared to do it for well over a year."
  • "The state house of representatives who are here in the Capitol ... do have the ability to issue a call to have their fellow members who are not showing up to be arrested but only so long as that arrest is made in the state of Texas. That's why they have fled the state," he added.
  • "Once they step back into the state of Texas, they will be arrested and brought to the Texas Capitol and we will be conducting business."

Abbott noted that the lawmakers are "risking losing their jobs as state representatives for not showing up."

Go deeper: Texas Dems flee state in effort to block GOP voting restrictions

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