Texas Gov. Abbott says he will target compensation for lawmakers after Democrats block strict voting bill
Democrats have vowed to continue fighting a Texas bill that would add restrictions on voting, with Republican Gov. Greg Abbott threatening to cut funding to the legislature if they did.
“I will veto section 10 of the budget voted by the legislature. Section 10 funds the legislature,” Abbott tweeted Monday. “No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities. Stay tuned.”
Texas Democrats used every parliamentary tool at their disposal on Sunday night to stop the bill, ultimately pulling out to prevent a vote before midnight. Abbott said the bill would be added on the agenda of an extraordinary session to adopt it. He did not announce a date for the extraordinary session.
State Representative Chris Turner, chairman of the Democratic House Caucus, said he and his colleagues in the State House would continue their fight, and called on Congress to pass national-level legislation that would protect the vote.
“We’re going to fight it every step of the way, we’re going to fight Republicans every step of the way, and we’re going to do whatever it takes to continue to stop, slow down and mitigate this legislation.” Turner said Monday on CNN.
Democrats across the country have supported efforts to block the bill as Texas emerges as the next voting rights battleground. President Joe Biden said over the weekend that the bill was an “attack on democracy.”
Stacey Abrams, former candidate for Democratic Governor of Georgia, who led the campaign for access to the vote in her state, tweeted: “Kudos to Texas Democrats, activists and defenders of the freedom to vote until the very last hour for defeating Bill Jim Crow 2.0 # SB7. This is what happens when we fight. “
The Texas bill, known as Senate Bill 7, was passed by the Senate along party lines early Sunday after an all-night debate. The bill was presented to the House for final approval on Sunday evening. But after hours of debate and delaying tactics, the chamber adjourned after the Democratic lawmakers left in protest, breaking the quorum and ending debate. At least 100 lawmakers must be present to do business.
The sweeping bill would limit voting hours, make it more difficult to vote by mail and empower observers who are supporters of the poll. The final version would also preserve the elimination of 24-hour polling stations and drive-thru voting centers, both in Harris County, the state’s largest Democratic stronghold, introduced last year in an election that had a record turnout.
The bill would also ban Sunday voting before 1 p.m., which critics said was an attack on what is commonly referred to as “souls at the polls” – a ballot campaign used by congregations black churches all over the country. The idea traces to the civil rights movement. Democratic state representative Nicole Collier, chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, said the change would “disengage, deprive those who use the opportunity of souls at the polls.”
Elements were chopped up behind closed doors, and Democrats argued they remained largely in the dark as last-minute changes and entirely new provisions were passed.