Republican Speaker of the Texas State House of Representatives Dade Phelan announced Thursday that the House had achieved a quorum for the first time since Democrats he fled the state to block the passage of a controversial Republican voting bill.
More than 50 Democrats from the Texas House of Representatives left Texas in July to block the bill by denying a quorum, the minimum required number of lawmakers present for the House to do any official business. Texas Senate the bill has already passed. As long as the quorum is not broken again, it will likely be passed soon in the GOP-controlled House and signed into law after reaching the Republican governor’s desk. Greg abbott.
“Members, this has been a very long summer. We have been through a lot,” Phelan said from the floor of the House when a quorum was achieved just before adjourning Thursday night, according to The Washington Post. “I thank the members who made a quorum today. It is time for us to get back to work for the great state of Texas.”
It is unclear when the House will address the controversial bill, although the current special session will resume at 4 p.m. Monday. Democrats have characterized the legislation as a voter suppression bill, noting that it would restrict access to voting in certain cases and could lead to voter intimidation by empowering partisan election watchers. Republicans say that the bill aims to ensure the integrity of the elections.
The bill seemed almost certain to pass before House Democrats broke the quorum by staging a last-minute strike at the conclusion of the regular session of the legislature in late May. Abbott soon ordered a 30-day special session, prompting 52 Democrats to flee the state for Washington, DC on July 12. The first special session ended without ever having achieved a quorum. Abbott quickly ordered an additional special session, which is currently underway.
Phelan signed civil warrants hoping to force the elusive Democrats back to work last week. A judge temporarily blocked the execution of the orders, but Texas Supreme Court reversed the decision this week. Although several Democrats had returned to Texas in early August, enough had stayed away from the state Capitol to continue denying the House of Representatives a quorum through Thursday.
After a quorum was achieved, some Democrats insisted that the months-long showdown had been successful and could lead to Congress passing Democratic ballot bills like the For the People Act, legislation that has little realistic chance of passing in an evenly divided Senate due to obstructionist rule and opposition from moderate Democrats like the Senator. Joe manchin of West Virginia.
“I am proud of the Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives,” tweeted former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke. “They have done more than we could have asked to stop voter suppression and give Congress time to act. Now is the time for the President and Senate to finish the job. Pass the For the People Act and voting rights. John Lewis Acting. “
Newsweek approached texas Democratic party for comments.