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The Texas State Capitol in Austin. Photo: Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images

Dozens of Texas House Democrats vowed after fleeing to D.C. Monday night they would stay away from the state until they had achieved their goal of blocking Republicans from passing new voting restrictions.

Why it matters: Instead of attending a special legislative session, the Texas House Democrats headed to D.C. Breaking quorum to prevent legislation from advancing is rare, and the representatives risk being arrested and forced to return to the Capitol.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Flashback: More than 50 Texas House Democrats left the state in 2003 to block a redistricting proposal supported by Republicans, though the effort ultimately failed.

Texas House Democrats also briefly broke quorum in May to block the passage of a sweeping restrictive voting bill right before the end of the regular session.

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in turn vetoed funding for the legislature and requested a special session, which started July 8.
  • Committees in both chambers of the legislature advanced two sweeping bills Sunday that would reform numerous aspects of the state's election system, including banning certain forms of voting, heavily restricting other forms and adding new identification requirements.

What they're saying: Chris Turner, Texas House Democratic caucus chair, said at a news conference after landing in the D.C. area Monday night: "We are determined to kill this bill in this special session that will end on August 7. We will stay out until then in order to do that."

  • Texas Democratic leaders said in a statement earlier Monday that they stood "united in our decision to break quorum and refuse to let the Republican-led legislature force through dangerous legislation that would trample on Texans’ freedom to vote."

The other side: Abbott issued a statement saying that breaking quorum hurts Texans.

  • "As they fly across the country on cushy private planes, they leave undone issues that can help their districts and our state," he said.

What's next: To block the legislation, the lawmakers will have to stay away for the remainder of the special session.

  • But Abbott "could continue to call 30-day sessions or add voting restrictions to the agenda when the Legislature takes on the redrawing of the state’s political maps later this summer," the Texas Tribune notes.

Go deeper: Lawyers, advocates reeling from SCOTUS voting rights decision

Editor's Note: This article has been updated with comment from Abbott and Turner.

Go deeper

White House blasts Texas bill targeting trans youth in sports as "hateful"

LGBTQ rights supporters gather at the Texas State Capitol to protest state Republican-led efforts to pass legislation that would restrict the participation of transgender student athletes. Photo: Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images

A White House spokesperson on Tuesday condemned a Texas bill that would force public school students to play on sports teams based on their assigned sex at birth, telling the Dallas Morning News the legislation is "hateful."

Why it matters: If passed, Texas would become the 10th state in the country to enact legislation banning transgender kids from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity, per NBC News.

Republicans scuttle voting rights proposal

Sen. Joe Manchin. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The Senate failed to advance a new voting rights bill in a 49-51 vote Wednesday, after Republicans successfully filibustered the bill.

Why it matters: The Freedom to Vote Act is the latest attempt by Democrats to counter Republican-led efforts to pass state laws restricting voting access. This marks the third time this year that Republicans have been able to scuttle voting rights legislation, the New York Times noted.

By the numbers: Media masters

Expand chart
*Hudson resigned from the Mississippi House effective Aug. 30. Data: Quorum; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Of the top 15 most active state legislators on Twitter and Facebook this year, four come from Pennsylvania, and Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Fla.) made both lists, according to data from Quorum.

Why it matters: As Donald Trump showed, social media has become increasingly important for politicians at all levels to raise their profile and communicate directly with voters.