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Breaking Quorum

On July 12, Texas House Democrats packed their bags and left for Washington DC in an effort to block passage of GOP-led voting restrictions. Democrats hoped their en masse departure would break the quorum — the minimum number of lawmakers needed to conduct business — so the Texas Republicans will not be able to pass legislation including banning drive-thru and 24-hour voting, among several other draconian restrictions. The Texas democrats indicated that they plan to remain out of state until the end of the special legislative session that ends Aug. 6.

Texas Republicans and GOP members in general across the nation are up in arms about the walk out, calling it an abandonment of the Texan constituents by their Democratic leaders. However, the issue at hand is beyond serious. Sitting in Texas, the GOP majority would have steamrolled over the voting restrictions bill. The Democratic lawmakers - by breaking quorum in Austin are sending a message to Governor Greg Abbott by asking Congress to pass federal voting laws.

While Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan has made it clear that the chamber will “use every available resource" to preserve the quorum; Texan law enforcement have no jurisdiction in Washington DC to force the Democrats to return.

It takes commitment, courage and creativity to take the kind of step the Texan lawmakers have taken. Such a united front to oppose any legislation that is dangerous and tramples in our fundamental freedoms - is indeed heartwarming to see. There is a nationwide war on democracy. It is steps like these that will go a long way in protecting the very fundamentals upon which our nation was built.

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