- Title: Texas Democratic lawmakers flee state to thwart voting restrictions
- Date: 13th July 2021
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (JULY 13, 2021) (UNRESTRICTED POOL) (SOUNDBITE) (English) RAFAEL ANCHIA, DEMOCRATIC MEMBER OF THE TEXAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SAYING: "I just want to offer that at the outset of this legislative session, the process was poisoned and it was poisoned by a governor who defunded the legislative branch in violation of both our state constitution, which has very specific language about separation of powers and also what has been developed under the jurisprudence of our US Constitution. When you start the process in such a coercive way, when you say I am going to be the absolute ruler of the state of Texas and defund the legislative branch, you have poisoned the entire process. And we as Democrats, we were united. We said we are going to kill any undemocratic efforts in the state legislature and if that meant leaving the state, we were going to do it." WHITE FLASH SENFRONIA THOMPSON DEMOCRATIC MEMBER OF THE TEXAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENFRONIA THOMPSON DEMOCRATIC MEMBER OF THE TEXAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SAYING: "I'm going to tell you why I'm up here. I'm not up here to take a vacation in Washington, D.C. When I look at the African-American museum, I thought about the struggle of my people fought in this country to get the right to vote and that right is sacred to my constituents that I represent back in Houston, Texas. And I'm up here because I don't plan to be a sitting person in that legislature, I'm not going to be a sitting duck. I'm not, I'm not going to be a hostage - as my constituents rights stripped from them. We have fought too long and too hard in this country. And that was a Texan, Johnson, President Lyndon B. Johnson, August the sixth of 1965 that made sure that we had the right to vote and those rights was not going to be infringed upon. But this legislature may have, these Republicans in this legislature may have changed the Messiah from Jesus to Trump, but I haven't. And I'm going to make sure that everything that I can do so that my constituents rights would not be stripped from them because of what they believe. And it's a lie. Trump lost the election and they need to tell the people of this country the truth. And if they won't, I'm going to." PULLOUT TO WIDE OF LEGISLATORS STANDING IN FRONT OF U.S. CAPITOL BUILDING
- Embargoed: 27th July 2021 16:23
- Keywords: Democrats Donald Trump Greg Abbott Texas bill election rights voting
- Location: WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Government/Politics,United States,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA001ELODMPZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Dozens of Democratic lawmakers were in Washington on Tuesday (July 13), having left Texas the previous day as part of a move to derail their Republican colleagues' efforts to pass new voting restrictions and other conservative measures during a special legislative session.
Texas is one of a number of Republican-led states pushing new voting restrictions in the name of enhancing election security, citing former President Donald Trump's false claims that his November election defeat was the result of widespread fraud.
"I'm not going to be a hostage - as my constituents rights (are) stripped from them," Texas state Representative Senfronia Thompson said at a news conference with members of congress in front of the U.S. Capitol.
Thompson said Republican Governor Greg Abbott's new proposed measures were based on "a lie."
"Trump lost the election and they need to tell the people of this country the truth. And if they won't, I'm going to," Thompson said.
The exodus is intended to deny the legislature the quorum needed to approve any of the measures on Republican Governor Greg Abbott's special-session agenda.
Texas legislators and President Joe Biden's administration are pushing Congress to pass legislation that protects the right to vote. So far, Senate Republicans have not backed the legislation, likely dooming it.
Biden will discuss steps the administration plans to take to shore up voting rights in a speech on Tuesday, the White House said.
On Sunday (July 11), House and Senate committees in the Texas legislature passed new versions of the voting measures, which would prohibit drive-through and 24-hour voting locations, add new identification requirements to mail-in voting and empower partisan poll watchers.
Votes in the full chambers were expected this week. Instead, Democrats bolted.
(Production: Deborah Gembara)
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