Texas Republicans, Democrats both give updates on special session

With little more than two weeks left in the special session, Texas House Democrats remain in Washington D.C.

On Wednesday, both Texas Democrats and Republicans gave updates on the status of the special session.

The point of contention remains Senate Bill 1, a GOP voting bill that Texas Republicans call voter security, while Texas Democrats call it voter suppression specifically of minorities.

"To break quorum as the house has, to go to Washington as these senators have done, is part of the legislative process," said state Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston).

A week ago, almost 60 Democrats flew out of Austin to break quorum in the special session in order to kill Republican backed voter reform bills

The delegation includes a handful of representatives from Central Texas: state Reps. John H. Bucy III (D-Austin), Sheryl Cole (D-Austin), Vikki Goodwin (D-Austin), Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin), Donna Howard (D-Austin), Celia Israel (D-Austin), Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), James Talarico (D-Round Rock), Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio), Elizabeth Campos (D-San Antonio), Philip Cortez (D-San Antonio), Barbara Gervin-Hawkins (D-San Antonio), Ray Lopez (D-San Antonio), Trey Martinez-Fischer (D-San Antonio), and Ina Minajarez (D-San Antonio), and state Sens. Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin) and Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio).

"Any time people’s civil rights, civil liberties and our democracy is threatened, best believe democrats are gonna stand," said state Sen. Borris Miles (D-Houston). "This is a discriminatory, divisive, suppressive and intimidation bill focused at minorities."

State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), the author of the original Senate Bill 7, says that SB 1 "makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat."

"Let me be clear, we're not reducing early voting hours anywhere, we're just bringing more counties into the expanded hours and for all counties we're expanding hours on the weekends," Hughes said.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also held a news conference Wednesday in reference to the continued standoff.

"If they start from the premise that this is Jim Crow 2.0 and somehow we don’t want people of color voting, well it’s very tough to sit down and have a good discussion of a bill," Patrick said. "When you walk in the room accusing people of being something that they're not and their motives are not pure, so if they want to knock that off that would be helpful."

Along with stalling voting legislation in Texas Democrats are pushing for voting legislation to be passed at the federal level. 

Democrats are expected to stay in D.C. until this special session ends on August 7. However, Governor Greg Abbott could decide to call another special session.

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