One of the 52 Democratic Texas state lawmakers who were issued arrest warrants after they refused to return to the legislature for a quorum over a GOP-backed elections reform bill has temporarily avoided arrest.
State Rep. Gene Wu was issued an arrest warrant along with more than 50 other Democrats because they effectively denied the Republican-controlled state House the number of present members needed to move on the legislation, which critics say would curb voting access in the state.
Judge Chris Morton granted a writ of habeas corpus for Wu on Wednesday after the state representative’s attorneys argued that the warrant violated the state constitution, KTRK reported.
"There was no quorum, so they could do no business, so the warrant is illegal and the warrant to arrest violates the Texas constitution," Stanley Schneider said, according to the ABC affiliate.
The decision only applies to Wu, and he will return next week to court with his attorneys.
In response to a question over whether he was going to return to Austin, he replied, “Hell no,” according to the Houston Chronicle.
Following his temporary release, Wu took to Twitter to use the arrest warrant as a means to fundraise.
“Finally got a copy of the warrant for my arrest. Republicans want voter suppression at any cost. Not today! Can you chip in a few to help me continue the fight?” he tweeted Wednesday.
Finally got a copy of the warrant for my arrest.— Gene Wu (@GeneforTexas) August 11, 2021
Republicans want voter suppression at any cost.
Can you chip in a few to help me continue the fight? #letthepeoplevote #txlege https://t.co/PHaPRh4Kpr pic.twitter.com/D1eOOnW5gW
Among the provisions of the controversial legislation, it would ban voting facilities in outdoor structures, straight-ticket voting and around-the-clock voting centers.
Though some state lawmakers are now back in Texas, they have not returned to help the lower chamber establish a quorum for the bill, prompting the state House to issue arrest warrants for the members.