Law enforcement can now begin rounding up House Democrats who have been absent from the Texas Capitol for weeks in protest of a voting bill.
On Thursday, the House sergeant-at-arms deputized members of the Texas Department of Public Safety, allowing Democrats to be brought to the chamber immediately.
Earlier this week, House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, signed civil arrest warrants for 52 Democrats. More than 40 had gotten court orders protecting them from arrest, however, the Texas Supreme Court invalidated them on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Senate passed a version of the voting bill after a 15-hour filibuster from Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston. She began speaking around 6pm Wednesday and finished Thursday morning. Alvarado said she knew the filibuster would not completely block the bill but it was the best she could do.
The House still doesn’t have enough members present to take up any bills.
Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, claims “Instead of trying to calm the situation and find ways to peacefully resolve the situation, Texas Republicans continue to add more fuel to this fire. We will not be deterred”.
GOP lawmakers in Texas were hoping that the arrest warrants would be enough to force the Democrats back to their positions.