Texas Democrats returned to the Capitol building on Thursday evening. After a six-week effort to block a voting bill, legislators expect to proceed with normal business as soon as Monday.
Officials moved forward with the special agenda after a scramble by Republican representatives to get the required two-thirds of members necessary for a quorum to conduct legislative business.
Three Houston Democrats, Garnet Coleman (District 147), Ana Hernandez (District 143) and Armando Walle (District 140), returned from Washington to the House Chambers Thursday night. They were the only three to break Democratic ranks from others who remained in Washington.
“We are proud of the heroic work and commitment we and our fellow Democratic Caucus members have shown in breaking quorum,” a joint statement said. “We took the fight for voting rights to Washington, D.C., and brought national attention to the partisan push in our state to weaken ballot access. Our efforts were successful and served as the primary catalyst to push Congress to take action on federal voter protection legislation.”
Some Texas Democrats who remain in Washington do not agree with the move by the Houston Representatives, including District 65 Rep. Michelle Beckly, D-Carrolton.
“This is how Texas Democrats lose elections,” Beckly posted on her social media page.
House District 85 Rep. Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton, has attempted to establish a quorum for 38 days. Now he wants to move forward with the plan as quickly as possible.
“Monday, we will be back, and hopefully, we will pass them all, but we have to go through the process,” Stephenson said. “I am happy we are finally going to do something after sitting around for weeks and spending over $3 million without doing anything because of Democrats.”
The second special session ends on Sept. 5, and Republican representatives will have to maintain quorum until then if they want to pass any legislation.