Arrest warrants signed for Democrats who fled Texas

Arrest warrants signed for Democrats who fled Texas
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Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) has signed arrest warrants for Democratic lawmakers who fled the state to block the passage of a GOP-backed elections overhaul bill.

A spokesperson for Phelan confirmed to The Hill that warrants were signed for 52 absent Democrats, but didn’t provide any additional details.

The warrants were first reported by The Dallas Morning News, which reported that the warrants will be delivered to the House sergeant-at-arms on Wednesday.

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The move comes after the Texas House voted 80-12 on a motion to send for the absent lawmakers as a second special session of the legislature drags on.

The Texas Supreme Court cleared the way for the lawmakers’ arrest earlier on Tuesday, overturning a ruling from a Travis County judge barring the state from being able to exercise its authority to arrest the House members.

More than 50 Texas House Democrats fled to Washington, D.C., in July to deny the lower chamber a quorum in order to block the passage of a bill that critics say would lead to voter suppression.

The lower chamber needed 100 members present in order to establish a quorum.

The bill would ban around-the-clock voting centers, voting facilities in outdoor structures and straight-ticket voting.

While in D.C., the lawmakers met with several high-profile Democrats to push for federal voting rights legislation, including Vice President Harris and Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinWith extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season White House looks to rein in gas prices ahead of busy travel season MORE (D-W.Va.).

Some of the lawmakers have returned to Texas, but have not come to the House floor to provide the quorum needed, according to The Texas Tribune.

During the first legislative session, Phelan signed an arrest warrant for state Rep. Philip Cortez (D), who initially left D.C. but later returned to negotiate with Republicans on the bill. He left for a second time.