The GOP speaker of the house in Texas has signed a civil warrant to arrest state Rep. Philip Cortez, a Democrat who returned to Washington, D.C., on Sunday in an effort to block a Republican election reform bill from being approved by state lawmakers, The Texas Tribune is reporting.
However, the news outlet noted it is unlikely that Speaker Dade Phelan’s signed warrant will have any impact since Texas law enforcement lacks any jurisdiction outside of the state.
The Texas Democrats had traveled to Washington to break the state House quorum to avoid losing votes in a special session.
More than 50 Democrat House lawmakers from Texas fled to the nation's capital in mid-July to temporarily block efforts to pass election reform measures in the state and staying through Aug. 7
The action was taken to keep the Texas House from a two-thirds quorum in order to keep the Legislature from passing a number of bills, particularly Republican-backed election reform measures.
Cortez had returned to Austin, Texas, saying he wanted to try to negotiate changes in the controversial bill, according to The Dallas Morning News.
And the Tribune said he had returned to Austin in an effort to engage in "good faith dialog."
But on Sunday, Cortez, saying talks "have not produced progress," flew back to D.C.
Phelan said on Monday that Cortez "has irrevocably broken my trust and the trust of this chamber" after the lawmaker "represented to me and his fellow members that he wanted to work on policy and find solutions to bring his colleagues back to Texas."
"As a condition of being granted permission to temporarily leave the House floor, Rep. Cortez promised his House colleagues that he would return," the speaker said. "Instead, he fled the state."
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