El Paso state Reps. return to Austin for special session

Local

FILE – This June 1, 2021, file photo shows the State Capitol in Austin, Texas. Democrats in the Texas Legislature are planning to leave the state in another revolt against a GOP overhaul of election laws. A person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press that Democrats are set to once again break quorum at the Texas Legislature in a dramatic showdown over voting rights in America. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso Democrats in the state legislature returned to Austin after staying in Washington D.C. for several weeks in protest of Republican-authored election law proposals.

State Reps. Joe Moody, Mary Gonzalez and Art Fierro say they returned for the state’s second special session this summer. The majority of the House Democratic Caucus had broken quorum and spent the entire first session in D.C. to stop Republican proposals to election laws.

“Our chief goal in going to Washington was to sound the alarm on voting rights nationwide and now there’s a new federal bill designed to protect voters and voting access that we expect will be filed soon because of our advocacy,” Fierro said. “So, while I think we elevated the conversation about voter suppression, there are also concrete protections coming.”

Earlier today, a state judge signed a temporary block stopping Governor Greg Abbott or other state officials from ordering the arrest or detainment of House Democrats who left the state. Travis county State District Judge Brad Urrutia’s order lasts 14 days, unless he extends it.

A statement released by El Paso representatives says a main reason for returning to Austin was to respond to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID’s delta variant is surging as kids are headed back to school and the governor’s executive orders are keeping our schools from responding,” Moody stated. “El Pasoans know what’s best for El Paso, so we’re going to fight for local control to keep students, teachers, and parents safe.”

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