San Angelo lawmakers respond to Dems who fled Austin: ‘Get back to work’
SAN ANGELO – Local Republican lawmakers representing San Angelo sent a unified message to Texas Home Democrats who fled the state rather than attend a special session of the Legislature: “Get back to work” .
More than 50 Democrats flew from Austin to Washington, DC on Monday to break the quorum and derail GOP plans to pass sweeping changes to election laws among other conservative priorities.
State Representative Drew Darby (San Angelo) expressed frustration with fellow Democrats, denouncing their actions as “unfair to taxpayers.”
âWhen the Texas House of Representatives convened (Tuesday morning) for the sixth day of the 30-day special session, I was in Austin ready to work on behalf of the people of Concho Valley and western Canada. Texas, âDarby said in an email. at normal time.
Representative Darby serves the District of House 72, which includes Coke, Concho, Glasscock, Howard, Irion, Reagan, Runnels, Sterling and Tom Green counties.
Darby: “A lot is at stake for the Texans”
“… Almost all of my fellow Democrats have chosen to deny us the opportunity to work on important political issues when they did not strategically show up at work as opposed to specific legislation,” Darby said.
As part of the special session, Darby tabled legislation on Friday to increase benefits for retired Texas teachers.
After:State Representative Darby Draft Law to Support Texas Retired Teachers
âHB 120 would give retired teachers a cost of living adjustment (COLA), and HB 85, ââfiled by State Representative Glenn Rogers (Graford), would provide retired teachers with a one-time additional payment , or ‘thirteenth check,’ according to a press release issued on Friday, July 9.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott added the “thirteenth check” as one of 11 priority items on the special session’s agenda, the statement said. Abbott has since called for absent lawmakers to be arrested and “locked inside the Texas Capitol until they do their jobs.”
After:Governor Greg Abbott has pledged to arrest the Texas Democrats upon their return. Can he do that?
âWithout a quorum of Texas House members, we cannot conduct business, and Texas taxpayers must foot the bill for wasted time,â said Darby. “A lot is at stake for the Texans in this special session.”
Darby said he and other lawmakers pledged to give extra benefits to retired teachers, give property tax relief and increase funding for children in foster care, but no were unable to do so due to the walkout.
Democrats countered that their departure from Texas was aimed at preventing Republican lawmakers from creating barriers to voting.
“We will not stand idly by watching Republicans reduce our franchise, silence the voices of Texans of color and destroy our democracy – all to preserve their own power,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. .
If passed, the provisions of the Voting Bills, SB 1 and House Bill 3, would include a ban on voting while driving or voting from inside a vehicle unless participating in roadside voting. street due to disability, strengthening the identification requirements on mail-in ballots and the ban on 24-hour and late-night voting.
Republicans argue that Texas election laws require additional restrictions to build confidence in election results, while Democrats insist the changes their GOP colleagues want would impose undue hardship on minority communities.
Learn about the issues:What would the ballot bill do that Texas Democrats are protesting while fleeing the state?
“Lawmakers can and should have frank debates on substantive issues, but it is a great wrong for taxpayers to shut down the whole legislative process when disagreements arise,” said Darby. “My message to my fellow Democrats: Go back to Texas and let’s get back to work for the Texans.”
Pfluger: “It’s time to get back to work”
US Congressman August Pfluger (TX-11) was quick to condemn lawmakers who fled Austin for Washington DC, saying Texas Democrats were behaving like “obstructionists” after “giving up responsibility towards voters “.
Congressman Pfluger serves District 11 of Texas, which spans 29 counties in West Texas, including the cities of Lamesa, Odessa, Midland, San Angelo, Brady, Brownwood, Llano and Junction.
âWe elect our state officials to protect our elections, not to flee the state in private jets to preen the liberal media in Washington, DC,â Pfluger said in an email to The Standard-Times. “People should see this stunt for what it isâ¦ tell Democrats it’s time to get back to work.”
Tom Green County Democrats: “We are proud of our fellow Democrats in Texas”
Some local Democrats in Tom Green County are hoping state lawmakers take their time before returning to Austin.
“The Tom Green County Democratic Party supports Democrats who left Austin to protect all Texans from Republican attempts to erode voter access,” according to a statement released by the organization to The Standard-Times.
A local party spokesperson criticized efforts by Governor Abbott and Republican lawmakers to change how votes are counted and by whom.
“Tom Green County Democrats are proud of our fellow Democrats in Texas for doing whatever it takes to thwart Republicans’ efforts to dismantle the voice of the people, and hope they will be successful in their efforts to encourage the Democrats in Washington to do the same, âthe statement said.
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John Tufts covers business and investigative topics in West Texas. Send him a news tip at JTufts@Gannett.com.