Texas Democrat on governor's threat: 'I have not committed a crime, so I can't get arrested'

A Texas Democratic lawmaker on Tuesday rebuffed Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) threat to arrest House Democrats who left the state in order to block the passage of an elections overhaul bill.

Texas Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D) said she doesn’t worry about the governor’s threat to have the lawmakers arrested and hold them inside the Capitol until they “get their jobs done” because she hasn’t committed a crime.

“I don’t worry probably because I know the law, and the governor knows the law, as well. I’m a criminal defense attorney and so I understand that I’ve not committed a crime, so I can’t get arrested,” Crockett said during an interview on CNN Tuesday.

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Crockett added that the Texas Speaker of the House can call to have the legislators detained, however, the state has no jurisdiction outside of Texas. 

“I’m not worried about the threat of being arrested. The most that can happen is we can be detained, which is why we got out of the state. The governor of Texas has no jurisdiction outside of the state of Texas, along with [the Texas Department of Public Safety]," Crockett said.

Crockett and her Democratic colleagues fled to Washington, D.C., on Monday in an effort to block the passage of the elections bill. Democrats similarly walked out of the House floor in May to block the passage of the bill.

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The bill calls for limits on early and curbside voting, bans 24/7 voting centers and voting facilities in outdoor structures, eliminates straight-ticket voting and limits the use of ballots drop boxes.

The measure is different from what Republicans wanted to pass in May, which would have banned Sunday voting and instituted a process that makes it easier for the legislature to overturn election results.

But Crockett said she still takes issue with voter ID requirements for mail-in voting. She also noted that 24-hour voting and drive-thru voting became preferred voting methods for minorities and first responders aiding in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These medical providers that are sitting here trying to save us from a pandemic, they had that option, and they used that option,” Crockett said of 24-hour voting.

“But more importantly, what we saw is the people who took advantage of actually drive-thru voting. The vast majority were minorities. That’s the problem; that was the target,” she continued.