In the wake of Donald Trump’s 2020 loss to Joe Biden, Republicans across the country, repeating the ex-president’s baseless bullshit, began insisting that the process had been plagued by fraud and that in order to protect future contests, they had to pass new laws safeguarding “election integrity.” Of course, in reality, there were virtually zero instances of actual fraud, and bills designed to supposedly secure future elections have curiously put rules in place that would suppress the votes of likely Democrats generally and people of color specifically. So when Texas lawmakers tried to pass a piece of legislation viewed as one of the worst voter-suppression bills in the country, people who still think democracy is worth fighting for were pretty good and pissed, leading House Dems in the Lone Star state to stage a walkout on Sunday that stopped the bill from being voted on before the midnight deadline. Yet instead of pausing to reflect on just why Democrats felt the need to take such drastic measures, state Republicans have had a slightly different reaction—that they should pass an even worse bill, and that Democrats trying to stop the country from sliding into fascism should have their pay cut.
Following the (temporary) defeat of the legislation, Texas governor Greg Abbott, who apparently hates voting rights, threatened to cut off funding for the Texas Legislature, tweeting, “I will veto Article 10 of the budget passed by the legislature. Article 10 funds the legislative branch. No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities. Stay tuned.” He also said that the scuttled bill—which would restrict voting hours, make it harder to vote by mail, give more power to partisan poll watchers, increase punishments for mistakes election officials, and prohibit voting on Sunday before 1 p.m., viewed as an attack on voting campaigns by Black churches—will be added to a special session to pass it.
Responding to Abbott‘s threat, State Representative Chris Turner, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, said on Monday that he and his colleagues will continue their fight; he also called on Democrats in Congress to pass legislation to protect voting rights on the national level. “We’re going to fight him every step of the way, we’re going to fight Republicans every step of the way, and we’re going to do whatever it takes to continue to stop, slow down, and mitigate this legislation,” Turner said on CNN. For their part, Texas Republicans are apparently even more resolved to disenfranchise millions of citizens.
Per The New York Times:
After Democrats staged the walkout, depriving the chamber a quorum, Republicans, apparently missing the point of what it means to work for the people, accused their colleagues across the aisle of failing to do their jobs. After the House adjourned on Sunday night, the Times reports, Democrats regrouped at a predominantly Black church two miles from the Capitol where they described the walkout as a last resort once it became clear that Republicans would cut off debate to get the bill passed by midnight. “We had no choice but to take extraordinary measures to protect our constituents and their right to vote,” said Turner. On Twitter, State Representative Gene Wu mocked Abbot’s threat to cut off funding for the Legislature, which he noted would punish “working class office staff, maintenance, and other support services” and be “very on-brand for Texas Republicans.”
In addition to Republicans’ attempts to take a whack at voting rights, GOP lawmakers are apparently on a mission to turn Texas into a basically uninhabitable state. Last week, the Republican–led legislature approved a bill late at night that allows people to carry handguns in public without a license, background check, or training, which Abbott has said he will sign despite opposition from 59% of Texans, and concerns raised by many law enforcement groups, per The Washington Post. And starting in September, not only will abortion be banned as early as six weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest, but anyone will be able to sue an abortion provider and collect at least $10,000, on top of legal fees, if they win, according to The Texas Tribune.
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