Texas House votes to send for and possibly arrest Democrat lawmakers who fled state

In 76-4 vote, House members still at state capital voted to send law enforcement officers after their colleagues who left state Monday.

Published: July 13, 2021 2:02pm

Updated: July 13, 2021 2:31pm

The showdown in the Texas House further escalated Tuesday afternoon as lawmakers still at the state's capital voted overwhelmingly to potentially arrest Democrat members who fled in an effort to avoid voting on GOP voting legislation.

The vote came as the roughly 50 House Democrats who left aboard a private plane Monday afternoon staged a Capitol Hill press conference to discuss their ongoing opposition to the Texas GOP's voting integrity legislative package. 

After failing to form a quorum in the chamber on Tuesday morning, State Rep. Will Metcalf, chairman of the House Administration Committee, put forth a motion requesting that the House sergeant at arms, "or officers appointed by him, send for all absentees ... under warrant of arrest if necessary."

The motion passed 76 to 4. The four "nay" votes were submitted by Democrat lawmakers who opted to remain in Austin. 

Though Texas law enforcement does not have the power to arrest any of the lawmakers who fled while they are in the nation's capital, that could change when the Democrats touch back down in Texas. 

During a Tuesday morning interview, GOP Gov. Greg Abbott – who initially suggested that the runaway lawmakers could be arrested – said they should be stripped of their committee leadership posts. 

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