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Texas Democrats proceed holdout, don’t present for brand spanking new session

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Democrats nonetheless refused to return to the state Capitol Saturday as Gov. Greg Abbott started a 3rd try at passing new election legal guidelines, prolonging a monthslong standoff that ramped up in July when some Democratic state lawmakers fled the state and hunkered down in Washington.

“A quorum shouldn’t be current,” Republican Home Speaker Dade Phelan mentioned Saturday afternoon. Simply minutes later, he adjourned the chamber till Monday.

Though the exact whereabouts of the entire greater than 50 Democrats who bolted some 27 days in the past was unknown, not sufficient of them confirmed up within the state Home of Representatives to offer Republicans the quorum required to start work on a brand new particular session.

Abbott, a Republican who’s up for reelection in 2022, has threatened Democrats with arrest in an effort to compel them again to the Capitol, though state troopers haven’t any jurisdiction past Texas.

Nonetheless, Democratic leaders haven’t dedicated to sitting out the whole 30-day session, leaving open the chance that sufficient may return sooner or later to finish the stalemate. Republicans wish to advance an overhaul of elections in Texas below laws that largely stays the identical regardless of the months of walkouts and protests by Democratic lawmakers.

Texas would ban 24-hour polling areas, drive-thru voting and provides partisan ballot watchers extra entry below the invoice that Republicans had been getting ready to passing in Might. However that effort was foiled by Democrats abruptly leaving the Capitol in a late-night walkout.

Democrats made a much bigger gambit — by decamping to Washington, D.C., on chartered jets — to expire the clock on the GOP’s second attempt. Democrats had hoped to exert strain on President Joe Biden and Congress to move federal voting rights laws, however a Senate Republican filibuster continues to dam such a measure.

Biden by no means met with the Texas Democrats within the nation’s capital. The group was shortly pressured to vary some plans after a number of of their members examined optimistic for COVID-19. Reviews that two Democrats snuck away to Europe additionally led to unhealthy headlines and invited mockery from Republicans again dwelling.

There was a latest sharp surge in COVID-19 infections in Texas, the place the variety of individuals hospitalized with the virus stands at greater than 8,500 sufferers, the best quantity since February. However Abbott has remained adamant that Texas wouldn’t carry again pandemic restrictions or masks mandates and has prohibited faculties from requiring face coverings. Lots of the state’s 5 million college students are scheduled to return to lecture rooms this month.

Whereas many Democrats have been tight-lipped about their plans, state Rep. Vicki Goodwin revealed hours earlier than the beginning of the brand new session Saturday that she could be amongst these nonetheless staying away.

“Sadly, the Gov selected so as to add divisive points which shall be dangerous to many individuals. I can’t abide by the Gov’s order,” she tweeted. “I can’t be returning to the Home ground this morning.”

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