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Democrats Bust Quorum in the Texas House Just as Special Session Gets Underway

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When the Texas House gaveled into session on Tuesday morning, significantly fewer lawmakers were in attendance. Almost immediately, a series of motions were made to verify that there was no quorum and, therefore, the House could not conduct business.

Since the House was technically recessed and not adjourned from the last time they convened on Friday, no immediate roll call was necessary.

State Rep. Will Metcalf (R–Montgomery) made a parliamentary motion “call of the house,” which requires 15 lawmakers to second the motion for passage. The motion was granted, and the resulting vote taken served as the verification of no quorum.

Those present in the House voted 76-4 to deploy the House sergeant-at-arms for all members who are not present and secure a quorum “under warrant of arrest if necessary.”

The four Democrat lawmakers who voted no, who were also the only Democrats in attendance, were State Reps. Ryan Guillen (Rio Grande City), Tracy King (Uvalde), Eddie Morales (Eagle Pass), and John Turner (Dallas).

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) thereby asked House Speaker Dade Phelan a series of parliamentary questions, which he ended by attempting to make a motion to strip those not in attendance by Wednesday at noon of their committee chairmanships, vice chairmanships, and titles. Phelan did not recognize that motion from the back microphone, causing Tinderholt to approach the House parliamentarians.

Immediately, a gaggle formed at the speaker’s dais. A few minutes later, State Rep. Morgan Meyer (R–Dallas) took to the back mic to ask a series of parliamentary questions while reading from a printout. He finished his line of questioning by asking whether, under the House rules, chairmen and vice chairmen of committees could be stripped of their positions, to which Phelan replied, “No.”

On Monday, Democrat lawmakers left Texas and traveled to Washington D.C. State

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