1 hr 41 min agoTexas House Republicans approve a measure to arrest members who are absentFrom CNN’s Dianne Gallagher
The Texas State Capitol is seen in Austin, Texas, on June 1. Eric Gay/APUpon reconvening in Austin on Tuesday morning, a quorum is not present in the Texas state House.
By a vote of 76 to 4, a motion was approved to direct the Texas House Sergeant at Arms to send for all unexcused absent members in an effort to secure a quorum, “under warrant of arrest, if necessary.”
Texas law enforcement does not have jurisdiction in Washington, DC, so it is unlikely the order will have much effect while the Texas House Democrats remain out of state.
However, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told KVUE on Monday that once the state House Democrats return to Texas, “they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done.”
The Texas Constitution does allow for a smaller number of members than a quorum to vote to compel the attendance of absent members.
2 hr 17 min agoHere’s where voting rights legislation stands in Congress From CNN’s Fredreka Schouten
Demonstrators hold up signs as the Declaration for American Democracy coalition hosts a rally calling on the Senate to pass the For the People Act, outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Wednesday, June 9. Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call/Getty ImagesThe so called For the People Act was a test vote for Democrats in their fight to pass federal voting reform legislation. With the defeat of that legislation in the Senate last month, they’re now looking to push for the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters after the For the People Act failed, that she and President Biden intend to continue to push for voting reform, including the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which is likely to come to the Senate floor later this year.
At least 17 states across the country have enacted laws that make it harder to vote, if passed, the act could reverse some of the restrictions passed by states.
This proposal, named after late Georgia Democratic congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis aims to restore enforcement provisions of the Voting Rights Act. It first became law in 1965, shortly after a bloody law enforcement attack on peaceful voting rights activists on a bridge in Selma, Alabama, shocked and shamed the nation into action.
The Voting Rights Act’s requirements — that nine states and parts of others with a history of racial discrimination win federal approval, or “pre-clearance” before changing their election procedures — were nullified by the Supreme Court in its 2013 Shelby County v Holder decision. (The court didn’t strike down pre-clearance but said the law relied on an old formula that needed updating. Congress hasn’t agreed on a new formula in the intervening years.)
Soon after the ruling, states began erecting new barriers to voting, ranging from voter ID laws to signature-matching requirements. And those efforts ramped up this year with many Republican-controlled states proposing a raft of new voting restrictions, spurred on by former President Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
A recent version of the new John Lewis Act would extend pre-clearance to states that have incurred multiple voting rights violations in the last 25 years — an attempt to get around the Supreme Court majority’s concern in Shelby that states were being punished for decades-old misdeeds, rather than current discriminatory practices.
Although a version of the Voting Rights Act rewrite passed the House in an earlier Congress, the John Lewis Act is not actually a bill right now. Committee hearings to fine-tune its provisions are planned as a precursor to its reintroduction in the House.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, has procedural avenues to bring the bills to the floor, but they are unlikely to ever pass unless the 60-vote threshold to overcome a legislative filibuster is dismantled.
And West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, along with Republicans and several other moderate Democrats, opposes abandoning the filibuster.
Read more about it here.
2 hr 26 min agoTexas state representative says traveling to DC over voting rights is not a “stunt”From CNN’s Adrienne Vogt
Armando Martinez, a member of the Texas House of Representatives who was part of the group that left Texas in an effort to block Republicans from passing voting restrictions, said the move is not a “stunt.”
“I think we’ve used the rules to our benefit. I think Democrats once again are very resilient and have come out ahead and utilizing anything that we have available placed on the table in order to address this,” Martinez said to CNN’s Kate Bolduan.
Martinez said the group plans to meet with members of Congress “to discuss the importance of voting rights and making sure that we can pass the Voting Rights Act to address this situation and this anti-democratic suppression session that we’re facing in Texas.”
“Even though we’re in the minority, we still have a voice, and our voice is very powerful when you have over 50 members coming to Washington, D.C,” he added.
Martinez also responded to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s remarks that he will continue to call special legislative sessions and that Democrats who traveled to DC “will be arrested.”
“The governor is not the king,” Martinez said. “We live in a democracy. And so he can’t just make those types of statements. And secondly, the misstatement about this being a taxpayer junket is totally false,” saying that the House Democratic committee paid for their travel. “Those are dues that we pay as members of the House Democratic Caucus,” he said.
2 hr 58 min agoNo White House meetings planned for Texas Democratic lawmakers From CNN’s Jeff Zeleny
The White House is focusing today on the importance of voting rights and democracy, with President Biden poised to deliver a major speech this afternoon in Philadelphia.
While the President’s speech will highlight the new laws – and pending legislation – in states across the country that restrict ballot access, there are no plans for Biden to meet with the Texas Democratic lawmakers who fled to Washington in hopes of blocking such a law in Texas.
A senior administration official said no meeting was planned at the White House today – or in the coming days – between the President and the Texas Democrats, who are on Capitol Hill today.
Texas House Republicans approve a measure to arrest members who are absent
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