Texas Democrats denied Republicans their required quorum in order to bring the special legislative session to a halt on Monday and stop bills aimed at voting rights, transgender rights and more. Here's the catch: They're going to have to stay out of the state for up to 30 days to stymie the legislation, and Texas Republicans can try and hunt them down and force them back into the session.
NBC News reports that at least 58 members of the State House of Representatives will leave Texas to stall the voting rights bill being rammed through by the Republican majority.
The two bills pending would add new identification requirements for vote-by-mail, ban drive-through voting and limit dropboxes, while creating new criminal penalties for breaking election code while empowering partisan poll watchers trained by the likes of Cathy Engelbrecht's True the Vote brownshirts.
The lawmakers are headed out of Texas on two charter planes to Washington, D.C., where they plan to once again make clear that they can't do this without the federal government passing the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act in order to pre-empt these draconian and clearly suppressive state voting rights laws.
The last time Democrats fled the legislature was in 2003, so this isn't something they do lightly or flippantly.
BREAKING: in a stunning & heroic display of defiance in the face of relentless voter suppression efforts by anti-voter lawmakers in the #txlege, over 50 Democratic House members have left the state, denying the legislature a quorum and therefore halting these anti-voter measures. https://t.co/2b3j4k4rJr
— Texas Civil Rights Project (@TXCivilRights) July 12, 2021
— Philmonger (@phillipmbailey) July 12, 2021
My Democratic colleagues and I are leaving the state to break quorum and kill the Texas voter suppression bill.
We’re flying to DC to demand Congress pass the For The People Act and save our democracy.
Good trouble. #txlege pic.twitter.com/gvDi8zcyey
— James Talarico (@jamestalarico) July 12, 2021
These are not acts of performative disobedience. They're a cry for help. A scream for help. It is time for the Senate to figure out how to make this happen. Just today, Jen Psaki reiterated President Biden's objection to the filibuster or even carving out an exception to it. It is time to for him to change his mind on this, not that he needs to approve of it in order for Senate Democrats to do it. It's simple enough to craft an exception that preserves the 15th amendment to the constitution or even just the fundamental constitutional right to vote.
Senate Dems need to take some inspiration from these proud Texas Democrats fighting as hard as they can for their democracy and step up. Take a risk. Get it done.