Sergeant-at-arms begins delivering arrest warrants to runaway Texas Dems who dared GOP to try it

The Texas House Sergeant-At-Arms has begun delivering arrest warrants to some 52 state Democrats who continue to deny a legislative quorum in protest over a voter integrity bill backed by the Republican majority and GOP Gov. Greg Abbott.

Video of Michael Black, the House Sergeant-at-Arms, was posted on Twitter showing him delivering the notice of civil arrest to the office of state Rep. Ina Minjarez after reading the warrant issued on Tuesday by Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan.

Minjarez was not at her office.

 

“Representative Thompson has not voluntarily appeared at the House chamber, and the speaker has signed a warrant on a representative’s civil arrest,” Black said as he delivered another warrant to a staff member at the office of Rep. Senfronia Thompson.

Rep. Ron Reynolds, one of the Texas Democrats still hiding out in Washington, D.C., after fleeing there with dozens of others two weeks ago, remarked after watching a video of Black delivering a warrant that the gravity of the situation became real.

“Actually seeing the video while I’m here in Washington — it put it in perspective,” he told KXAN.

Not all Democrats believed that Phelan and Republicans would actually carry out the delivery of the warrants.

“I think they’re bluffing. Do they really want to arrest a woman of color?” Rep. Celia Israel, who serves the 50th district of Texas and has since returned to her district but not the Capitol, told the Daily Mail. “They’re just thumping their chests.”

Phelan issued the warrants after the Texas Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that he had the authority, as Speaker, to do so. On Tuesday, the Texas House voted 80-12 to authorize the issuance of the warrants as Republicans attempt to reestablish a quorum so the Legislature can address pressing legislation amid Abbott’s second special session.

The state’s highest court overturned a lower court’s ruling that said the House lacked the authority to issue warrants.

“The Supreme Court of Texas swiftly rejected this dangerous attempt by Texas Democrats to undermine our Constitution and avoid doing the job they were elected to do. We look forward to the Supreme Court upholding the rule of law and stopping another stall tactic by the Texas Democrats,” Abbott’s spokesperson told Fox News following the ruling.

Meanwhile, Reynolds told KXAN that his Democratic colleagues who are currently in Texas are concerned about the warrants.

“We’re treated like fugitives on the run. So basically, they have to be conspicuous. They have to hide… they’re not safe at their home, or they can’t go by their district office,” he said.

Republicans counter that Democrats left the House leadership no choice and that, in any event, no one is going to be locked up.

“It’s not as if anyone’s going to jail or truly, truly held against their will. But we want to bring people here to do their job,” said GOP Rep. Jim Murphy of Houston. “These rules that are being followed are the same rules that we all adopted.”

Israel said that while Texas lawmakers have denied quorums in the past, the fight has never gone on so long.

“We’ve never been down this road before,” she told the Daily Mail.

“I just question whether [the Texas Department of Public Safety] or anyone can break down my door to come and put me in shackles and drag me there,” Democratic state Rep. Vikki Goodwin added. “I feel certain that I can stay in my home, and stay off the House floor.”

Many social media users reacted with approval at the delivery of warrants to state Democrats’ offices by Sergeant-At-Arms Black.

“This delights me on so many levels,” said one user on Twitter.

“Good. I don’t always like my job, but I don’t have the convenience of getting on a plane and flying away when things get tough. How much taxpayer dollars were spent on food, gas, taxis, hotels?” said another.

“They are compelling them to show up and do their job. Responsible people don’t have to be compelled. They show up and do their job.” another wrote.

Jon Dougherty

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