The Texas state House Legislature reached a quorum Thursday with 99 members present, the minimum required to pass laws, paving the way for the House GOP moving forward on election integrity measures.
House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beamont, gaveled in the special session, referring the controversial election bill to committee before adjourning minutes later until Monday 4 p.m. local time, The Washington Post reported.
“Members, this has been a very long summer,” Phelan said before adjourning, the Post reported. “We’ve been through a lot.
“It’s time we get back to work for the great state of Texas.”
Democrats had blocked the quorum over the election integrity bill, fleeing to Washington, D.C., amid a months-long attempt to slow the passage of key legislation in the majority-GOP House.
Democrat state Reps. Garnet Coleman, Ana Hernandez and Armando Walle returned Thursday, hailing their efforts to block the quorum.
“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,” the trio wrote in a joint statement, according to the Post. “Our efforts were successful and served as the primary catalyst to push Congress to take action on federal voter protection legislation. Now, we continue the fight on the House Floor.”
Maintaining a quorum through the second 30-day special session is not a foregone conclusion yet, The Texas Tribune reported.
“This is how Texas Democrats lose elections,” Rep. Michelle Beckley, D-Carrollton, tweeted Thursday night.
Arrest warrants were issued for the AWOL Democrats to be brought to the state Capitol in Austin, and the Texas Supreme Court ruled Tuesday arrests could be made for missing Democrats.
That ruling blocked previously issued restraining orders by Texas courts, compelling Democrats to return to the special session in the Capitol.
The Post reported Thursday’s reaching of the quorum took hours for the 99th members to arrive.