After more than a month, three Houston Democrats returned to the state House floor on Thursday to bring the chamber to quorum. More than 50 Democratic state legislators left Texas in mid-July to block Republicans’ efforts to pass an elections bill.
Governor Greg Abbott said, “I will continue to call special session after special session to reform our broken bail system, uphold election integrity, and pass other important items that Texans demand and deserve.” 99 members were present, the bare minimum needed for a quorum due to the resignation of Leo Pacheco.
Democratic state Representatives Garnet Coleman, Ana Hernandez, and Armando Walle returned to the state Capitol for the second special session. They released a statement that read, “Our efforts were successful and served as the primary catalyst to push Congress to take action on federal voter protection legislation. Now, we continue the fight on the House Floor.”
Several Democrats that fled to D.C. tweeted against their three colleagues for showing up on the House floor. Republicans say the election bill is needed to ensure ballot integrity, but Democrats say the bill makes it harder to vote.
State House Speaker Dade Phelan said, “Members, it’s been a very long summer. We’ve been through a lot. I appreciate you all being here, and I appreciate the members who made quorum today. It’s time to get back to the business of the people of Texas.”
Congressman James Talarico said, “I would love nothing more than to come back to the state Capitol and get to work with my Republican colleagues to solve real problems that real Texans face. But instead, Governor Abbott has announced a special session that is filled with conspiracy theories, conspiracy theories about stolen elections, conspiracy theories about trans children, conspiracy theories about critical race theory.”
Governor Greg Abbott set a 17-item list: bail reform, election integrity, federal relief appropriations, education, border security, social media censorship, article X funding, family violence prevention, transgenders in youth sports, abortion-inducing drugs, 13th check (Teacher Retirement System of Texas), Critical Race Theory, appropriations, primary elections, radioactive waste, employment, and state legislature.
The chamber is expected to reconvene August 23rd.