Texas Republicans advance election, transgender bills, move to arrest fleeing Dems
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AUSTIN, Texas, July 15, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Texas senators are advancing election reform and transgender sports bills, as their House colleagues move to arrest Democrats who fled the state this week to block election integrity efforts in the lower chamber.
On Tuesday, the Republican-led state Senate passed Senate Bill 1, which requires absentee voters to provide a form of identification, like a driver’s license or social security number. Other provisions include bans on drive-thru voting and 24-hour voting, changes to early voting hours, new protections for poll watchers, and a ban on unsolicited mail-in ballot applications.
S.B. 1 additionally requires that voter rolls be reviewed on a monthly basis for illegal immigrant voters, according to the Texas Tribune. The bill passed 18-4 yesterday, along party lines. The senate maintained a two-thirds quorum, even though nine Democrats fled to Washington, D.C., on Monday with fellow Democrats from the House, the Texas Tribune said.
Senators also moved forward with legislation earlier this week to ban transgender biological males from competing against females. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Monday approved the bills, Senate Bill 2 and Senate Bill 32, with a 6-0 vote, Breitbart reported.
The two bills would ban public schools and higher education institutions from letting students compete on teams “designated for the biological sex opposite to the student’s biological sex.”
All six votes in favor of the bills came from Republicans, Breitbart said. Both Democrats and Republican in the Texas House impeded similar legislation earlier this year.
Along with election reform and the protection of biological sports standards, priorities for Texas’ special session include abortion pill restrictions, a ban on critical race theory, and funding for border security, among other things. Election integrity is listed as the second priority, behind bail reform, according to an agenda released by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
Fleeing Democrats ‘will be arrested’
Texas Republicans’ push for greater election integrity comes as the Lone Star State faces a record number of voter fraud cases. “In my office we have over 500 cases waiting to go trial,” Texas attorney general Ken Paxton said in a Monday appearance on Fox News. “We have more voter fraud cases that we have ever had. That’s just a fact.”
Nevertheless, at least 51 of 67 Democratic House lawmakers fled the state to Washington, D.C., on Monday to deny a quorum needed to pass House Bill 3, a counterpart to Senate Bill 1.
Democrats had previously blocked Senate Bill 7, another election integrity bill, by walking out and breaking quorum during Texas’ regular legislative session, which ended in May. Gov. Abbott responded last month by defunding the legislature and calling the current special session.
The fleeing Texas Democrats took a chartered jet to D.C., and could be seen bringing on board a case of Miller Lite as well as forgoing face masks, which are required for passengers over two years old on commercial flights due to Biden administration guidelines.
Smiling House Dems fly off to DC on a private jet with a case of Miller Lite, breaking House quorum, abandoning their constituents, while the Senate still works. It’s my hope that Senate Dems report tomorrow to do what they were elected to do. We will vote on #SB1. #txlege pic.twitter.com/5Kcc4emNFg— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) July 12, 2021
The Democrats released a statement upon breaking quorum, demanding that Congress pass the so-called “For the People Act,” which would institutionalize no-excuses mail-in voting nationwide and abolish voter identification rules. More than 80% of Americans support photo ID, recent polling has found.
The lawmakers are also lobbying U.S. senators to cut back the Senate filibuster, despite using similar quorum rules to prevent a vote on H.B. 3.
National Democrats and the White House have celebrated the Texas House Democrats, who have fundraised off of their stunt, with Vice President Harris likening them to people who “died for our right to vote.”
Republicans, like Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), slammed them as “pathetic.”
“Hard to imagine a more delusional group of people – thinking that lying about these bills, hopping on a chartered flight, sipping beer, and skipping work is ‘sacrifice,’” Crenshaw, a Navy SEAL veteran, tweeted. “You guys are pathetic.”
The Texas Democrats’ flight is ultimately meaningless, as Abbott has promised to continue calling special sessions “all the way up until election next year” to pass an election integrity bill.
On Tuesday, remaining members of the Texas House voted 76-4 to authorize state troopers to arrest the Democrats once they return to the state, NBCDFW reported.
Abbott said the day before that they would eventually be arrested and forced back to the capitol. “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,” he said in an interview with the Ingraham Angle.
Texas lawmakers’ trip to the D.C. this week is not the first time that Democrats have pulled such a move, which is known as “fleebagging.” Texas Democrats broke quorum as recently as 2003 by going to Oklahoma and New Mexico in a failed bid to stop redistricting efforts.
The move also reflects a growing trend of left-wing activists and politicians simply disrupting proceedings to stop bills that they don’t like, as in Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma this year.