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Texas Gov. threatens to arrest Democratic lawmakers

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Joined by fellow Texas state House Democrats, Rep. Chris Turner speaks during a news conference on voting rights outside the US Capitol on July 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said that Democratic lawmakers who flew to Washington, DC in order to deny the state legislature the two-thirds quorum needed in order to pass legislation on voting reforms can and "will be arrested" upon their return.

"As soon as they come back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done,” the Republican governor said on Monday in an interview to KVUE.

Democrats must get back to the job they were elected to do.

Their constituents must not be denied important resources simply because their elected representatives refused to show up to work.

— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) July 12, 2021

The Texan governor gave assurance to the viewers that there "still remains plenty of time to pass” the important bills the Democratic lawmakers wanted to evade.

KVUE asked Abbott whether the Democratic lawmakers’ absence from the   Texas legislature could force the governor to stop pushing the changes in voting laws proposed after the disputed 2020 presidential election.

Abbott insisted that he will continue to exert pressure on the Democrat lawmakers until they eventually give in to the majority Republican lawmakers demands in the Texas state legislature. “I can and I will continue to call a special session after special session after special session” until they are passed.

He said he would put pressure on the Democratic lawmakers “to pass not just the bills you mentioned but there's a lot of other bills on there.”

Abbott claimed to media earlier that the proposed voting reforms will make it “easier to vote” and “harder to cheat”.

In this regard, Texas Democratic Party issued a statement on Monday.

In the statement, Democratic lawmakers pointed out that the ruling Republicans' main hope of holding onto power in Texas in the 2022 election was in the new voting reforms in the state which Abbott claimed would make voting easier and more secure at the same time.

"After Democrats historically blocked Republicans' anti-voter efforts in the spring legislative session, Abbott called an irregular extra legislative session in order to resurrect the anti-voter legislation,” the Texas Democratic Party said in the statement.

"In response to Republicans' escalation of their attacks on voters, Democrats continue to hold the line," the statement added.

Meanwhile, the absent Democratic lawmakers, who under Texas law can face arrest and be compelled to attend the legislature sessions, may be forced to remain outside of Texas for weeks or longer in order to keep safe.

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