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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Some Democrats Trickle Back In, but Texas House Still Lacks Quorum

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The Texas House of Representatives has been paralyzed for the last nine days due to an insufficient amount of lawmakers present to conduct legislative business, after almost all of the House Democrat Caucus broke quorum (after being enabled by Republican leadership) and traveled to Washington, D.C.

While originally only 80 lawmakers were present, those numbers have reportedly increased.

What Are the Numbers?

On Wednesday, Texas House Republican Caucus Chairman, State Rep. Jim Murphy (Houston), told reporters that there were 91 lawmakers present at the state Capitol, making the House just nine members short of the 100 needed to have a quorum, or conduct legislative business.

“We are getting closer every day. We’re kind of on the bubble now, time-wise and numbers-wise,” he said.

The first called special session began on July 8 and can last up to 30 days. This means that if enough lawmakers actually return, the House of Representatives has just 16 days left to consider Gov. Greg Abbott’s special session agenda.

As the day went on, an additional report indicated that State Rep. Leo Pacheco (D–San Antonio) also verified his attendance with the House journal clerk, bringing the total of present lawmakers to 92. Pacheco posted publicly last week that he remained in Texas and did not travel to Washington, D.C., with his Democrat colleagues, but he seemingly was not directed by law enforcement to return to his duties in Austin.

Another Democrat lawmaker who has returned to the Capitol is State Rep. Philip Cortez (San Antonio). He released a statement upon his return:

I proudly stood with my democratic colleagues and left Texas to ensure House Bill 3 would not be approved as introduced. A small working group of Democrats decided to begin active discussions here in Austin on improving HB 3 and asked that I

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