Special session expected after Texas House Democrat walkout over SB 7
AUSTIN, Texas - A special legislative session is expected to be called by Gov. Greg Abbott after all 67 members of the Democratic Caucus members walked out on the final night of the 87th Legislative Session to avoid passing controversial Senate Bill 7, a dramatic act that hasn't been done in almost 20 years.
"Until they're willing to listen to us and we can make these decisions together, then we're going to stand united and we're going to fight for the State of Texas," said state Rep. Jessica González (D-Dallas).
Midnight on Sunday was the Texas House deadline to get SB 7, a controversial voting bill Texas Republicans say will prevent voter fraud while Texas Democrats say its voter suppression, to Abbott's desk.
"We came together to say that enough is enough because the people of Texas deserve better," said González.
Just hours before the legislative session's deadline, all the Texas House Democrats staged a walkout preventing the house from passing SB 7, an act that has not been done since 2003.
SB 7 was not the only reason for the walkout. According to state Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), lawmakers passed several bills that do not benefit Texans like permitless carry and the heartbeat bill.
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"I've seen several legislative sessions and, I think we can all pretty much agree, this has been one of the most brutal that any of us have been involved with," said Howard.
Abbott snapped back at Democrats by tweeting he will veto Article 10 of the state budget. He wrote, "no pay for those who abandon their responsibilities".
"Not only is the move petty, it's also ineffective. The budget is for 2022 through 2023, which means that the veto may not even really penalize the people, the legislators, that he's trying to penalize. It would penalize future lawmakers," said Wesley Story, communications manager for Progress Texas.
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Although SB 7 was shelved, members of the Travis County GOP say this legislative session was still a win.
"Every session has some baby steps forward. In this session, we saw two major reforms that happened and that was constitutional carry and the heartbeat bill," said Andy Hogue, communications director for the Travis County GOP.
At least one special session is set to happen. Governor Abbott will set the agenda and is expected to put SB 7 back on it.