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Quorum not met for second special session in Texas House

Only 81 Texas House representatives were present Saturday afternoon for the second special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott.

AUSTIN, Texas — Quorum was not met for the second special session Saturday afternoon in the Texas House.

House Speaker Rep. Dade Phelan ended the meeting after only 81 representatives showed up for roll call. At least 100 representatives were needed for the House to move forward.

Phelan said the session would adjourn until 4 p.m. Monday.

Friday was the final day of the first special session Gov. Abbott called in Austin. It came and went with no new laws. Republicans called the session about 13 hours early Friday.

The House remains at standstill as most of the Democrat representatives have not returned from Washington D.C., where they continue to fight for election reform and voting rights.

“Yes, we managed to run the clock out on the first special session, but we are not naïve to think that we have won the war,” said State Rep. Nicole Collier, D-Ft. Worth.

With the end of the special session comes the end of the agenda set before them, including that controversial elections bill. Democrats are proud to have killed it.

Two new faces were among the members on the floor Saturday. Representatives Eddie Lucio III and Bobby Guerra were listed among the 57 members who broke quorum to flee to D.C.

Rep. Lucio said he applauds the work his colleagues are doing in Washington, but he made the decision to return to Austin for both personal and professional reasons.

Democrats in D.C. say 26 of their members will remain at the nation’s capital to continue the fight. Rep. Ron Reynolds is one of them, and he believes they have enough members united to continue breaking quorum.

"I was encouraged that the action would be carried, that the baton would be carried, in theme with the Olympics, right?" Lucio said. "That the baton would be carried by my washington colleagues at the federal level to have sweeping reform nationwide.”

"I don’t believe that there are enough Democrats to make quorum yet, but they’re still eagerly trying to twist arms and put pressure on my colleagues," Reynolds said. "That is happening daily. That’s been happening since we left. But we have been resolved, and we’ve been strong and united in our efforts to solidify and not break ranks.”

A lawsuit was filed by several Democrats in D.C. on Saturday against three Republican leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott.

The lawsuit caused some disagreement among those listed on it, but Rep. Reynolds said they’re using this litigation to seek a judge’s ruling on whether the governor has the authority to issue and carry out arrest warrants for their absence.

“This type of bill is going to be detrimental for generations to come, if we allow it to happen,” said state Rep. Jarvis Johnson D-Houston.

But Republicans say their bill would protect elections and say the special session became a huge waste of money.

“A special session costs us over a million dollars of additional cost to the taxpayers of Texas,” said Rep. Jim Murphy, R-Houston. “In this case, they paid a million and got pretty much nothing.”

Before the session, Murphy said the House had 83 of the 150 seats filled. They needed at least 17 Democrats to show up in order to conduct business, he said.

Republicans are confident they will have enough members to make quorum as soon as Monday.

Janelle Bludau on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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