AUSTIN, Texas – The special session for the Texas legislature is scheduled to end this week without quorum in the House.
Republicans in both chambers urged their Democratic colleagues to return from the nation’s Capitol to vote on several measures that are stalled without the Democrat’s presence. Some of the legislation in limbo include bond reform changes, which would make it tougher for repeat-felons to get a bond and a one-time payment of up to $2,400 for retired teachers.
“If you’re a retired teacher and you wanted that thirteenth check and you can’t, blame the Texas Democrats that walked off the job,” said GOP Caucus Chairman Jim Murphy.
The State GOP on Tuesday once again asked the Democrats to return to Austin so that they can proceed with the final days of the special session. Unlike House Republicans, the Senate has been able to pass several bills in their chamber.
More than 50 House Democrats Texas in July to block a controversial voting bill from passing. Democrats called the election bill restrictive while Republicans argued it would make elections safer. As a result, none of the other bills on the session’s agenda can move forward without all lawmakers in Austin.
“The Senate has accomplished and passed every bill on that call and passed it over to the Senate,” said Sen. Larry Taylor of District 11. “Unfortunately our colleagues in the House could not receive those bills because there was not a quorum and it is very disappointing.”
On Tuesday, U.S. Congressman Al Green of Texas was arrested along with State Rep. Ron Reynolds of Missouri City.
The Democratic lawmakers were charged with obstructing traffic. Rep. Green said they remained in the street after a voter rights rally ended in Washington, D.C., after being asked by Capitol police three times to leave. Green said he was not afraid to get arrested if it meant getting into “good trouble.”
“Dr. King went to jail. Rosa Parks went to jail. I’ve gone to jail with John Lewis,” Rep. Green said. “Today I was cited, and I would be amenable to doing whatever I have to protect voting rights.”
Green said he was released from custody less than an hour later and cited $25. He said he plans to pay the fine.