The Texas House Sergeant-At-Arms has started delivering arrest warrants to the 52 state Democrat lawmakers who are denying a legislative quorum over a voter integrity bill that has the support of the Republican majority.
A video was posted online on Wednesday of Michael Black, the House Sergeant-at-Arms, reading the warrant issued on Tuesday by Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan outside the office of Rep. Ina Minjarez.
Minjarez is one of many Democrat lawmakers who fled the state and went to Washington, DC to avoid the vote.
Doesn’t appear that they’ve successfully escorted any absent Dems back up to the house floor yet
— Morgan O'Hanlon (@mcohanlon) August 11, 2021
Black also delivered a warrant to one of Rep. Senfronia Thompson’s staffers.
“Representative Thompson has not voluntarily appeared at the House chamber, and the speaker has signed a warrant on a representative’s civil arrest,” Black said at Rep. Thompson’s office.
Officer attempted to serve arrest warrant issued by the Texas Speaker of the House on Rep. Senfronia Thompson today to force her onto the floor to force a quorum. Similar attempts are being made on other Texas House Dems. pic.twitter.com/Giik6tuG8T
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) August 11, 2021
Rep. Ron Reynolds, who is still hiding out in DC, said that seeing the warrants being served made the seriousness of the situation settle in for him.
“Actually seeing the video while I’m here in Washington — it put it in perspective,” Reynolds told Texas station KXAN.
Rep. Celia Israel has returned to Texas, but has not stepped foot in the Capitol. She told the Daily Mail that she did not believe she would be arrested because of the color of her skin.
“I think they’re bluffing. Do they really want to arrest a woman of color?” Rep. Israel, who serves the 50th district of Texas said. “They’re just thumping their chests.”
Reynolds told the station that his Democrat colleagues who remained in Texas are worried.
“We’re treated like fugitives on the run. So basically, they have to be conspicuous. They have to hide… they’re not safe at their home, or they can’t go by their district office,” he said.
Now, the Sergeant-at-Arms will report the list of members who were absent to the Speaker. They will then have the power to order law enforcement officials to physically bring the representatives that are still in the state to the Capitol.
A timeline for potential law enforcement involvement has not yet been released.
A court had previously ruled that the House lacked the authority to issue warrants, but it was overturned by the state’s Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court of Texas swiftly rejected this dangerous attempt by Texas Democrats to undermine our Constitution and avoid doing the job they were elected to do. We look forward to the Supreme Court upholding the rule of law and stopping another stall tactic by the Texas Democrats,” Abbott’s spokesperson told Fox News following the ruling.