Texas governor threatens to arrest Dem lawmakers who fled state over elections bill

Texas governor threatens to arrest Dem lawmakers who fled state over elections bill
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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Texas Democrat Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer has claimed that the Democratic lawmakers who fled Texas in a private jet on Monday did so because “everybody wants to see” them together.

Fischer appeared on CNN’s New Day on Tuesday, a day after he and around 50 other Democratic House lawmakers fled to Texas, violating house tradition to prevent the GOP-controlled House from passing election reforms. The Democratic lawmakers privately flew to Washington D.C. to support a Democrat-backed federal overhaul of election law. 

During the show, Fischer defended the decision by him and his colleagues to board private jets from Texas to Washington. The lawmakers were mocked and criticized on social media after photos of the group were posted online, with many users pointing out the lack of masks on the flight. 

“So, number one, when you break a quorum you want to be successful, so I think everybody wants to see 51, 52, 55 Democrats on the same plane. That’s reassuring,” Fischer said, explaining the decision to charter a jet. “Number two, to get a flight out of town at a time certain – you know, getting everybody to come if from across the state – you need to fly privately. And, as you can see from the picture, we’re talking about the same kind of plane that the public uses every day. There are no fancy couches or anything like that. This was just a regular plane that moved us from one state to another.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has vowed to call as many special sessions of the state legislature as needed to pass his legislative priorities, including election reforms. 

“We have special sessions that last 30 days, and the governor calls them and I will continue calling special session after special session, because over time it’s going to continue until they step up to vote,” Abbott said on Fox News on Monday. He went on to accuse the lawmakers of misrepresenting the proposed election reforms that purportedly motivated them to flee the state.

“The thesis that they are operating under is completely false, because what the Texas law does, doesn’t hinder anybody’s ability to vote,” he said. “In fact, interestingly, what Texas is seeking to do is to add additional hours to vote. Texas has 12 days of early voting and the hours of which will be expanded. And we will ensure that hours are expanded on Election Day also. So their entire thesis is completely wrong.”

Abbott also stated that the rogue lawmakers will be arrested when they return to Texas. 

“What the law is, it’s in the Constitution, and that is the house, the State House of Representatives who were here in the Capitol in Austin right now, they do have the ability to issue a call to have their fellow members who are not showing up to be arrested, but only so long as that arrest is made in the state of Texas,” Abbott said. “That’s why they have fled the state. Once they step back into the state of Texas, they will be arrested and brought to the Texas Capitol, and we will be conducting business.”

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  • By Ezra Levant

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