WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday night, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) signed civil arrest warrants for 52 of his Democratic colleagues who left the state last month to deny Republicans of the quorum they needed to pass a voter suppression omnibus bill. The warrants permit law enforcement to arrest Democrats who are in the state and bring them back to the state House chamber, although they will not be charged with a crime or fined.
Democrats have questioned whether Phelan has the authority to sign such warrants, and half of them remain in Washington, D.C. “We’re united in staying away from the House as long as possible,” said state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D). All but one Republican House member voted for the issuing of warrants to arrest their colleagues. Rep. Lyle Larson (R), who did not vote for the measure, tweeted on Tuesday: “Have we got to the point where we believe our own bull shizz so much that we arrest our own colleagues. Civil discourse took a nasty turn today.”