AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) — The Texas house lawmakers who are still in Austin returned to the state capitol at 11:00 a.m. but without quorum — the minimum number of lawmakers needed to conduct business — so they wont be able to take up Senate Bill 1.
The state elections bill that could ban drive-thru and 24-hour voting and enact new rules on voting-by-mail, among other restrictions, was passed by the Texas Senate late Tuesday night. The 18-4 vote was divided along party lines.
House Republicans couldn't debate House Bill 3 because they did not have the two-thirds of elected members present, but they did pass a call on the House, meaning the more than 50 Democrats who flew to Washington, D.C. to prevent a quorum could be arrested upon their return. State troopers were also directed to search for the absent members still in Texas, but they don't have the jurisdiction to bring them home from the nation's capitol.
Texas House members couldn't leave the chamber on Tuesday, because the door was locked for most of the day. No word on if the doors were again locked Wednesday.
While in Washington, Texas Democrats continue to press Congress to act on voting legislation at the federal level. The group is meeting with leaders including Vice President Kamala Harris, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and a number of Democratic senators like Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
After talking with the group the Vice President said, Kamala - "We had an extensive meeting, I had an extensive meeting yesterday with I think some of the most courageous elected leaders that we could know at this moment. I said it yesterday and I'll say it again - they took bold, courageous action."
Legislation will languish unless the Democrats return to Texas before the special session called by GOP Gov. Greg Abbott ends. There is a little more than three weeks left -- lawmakers convened on July 8 and the session is set to last up to 30 days.
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