Texas state House Speaker Dade Phelan announced an arrested warrant was issued for a Democrat, Rep. Philip Cortez, that fled the state in order to circumvent GOP backed voting bills, according to The Washington Examiner.
Texas Democrats made headlines when they took to the skies, eventually landing in Washington, D.C. when it became apparent that they wouldn’t have enough votes to put down the voter security bills.
Phlan issued the warrants on Sunday telling the sergeant-at-arms or “any officer appointed by him” to take Cortez into custody, citing his own constitutional authority to request the arrest.
The Democrat promised last week to return to Austin and engage in “good faith dialogue” with his colleagues. However, he immediately returned to Washington to join nearly 60 other Texas Democrats all of whom are away from. home to keep Texas from gaining the quorum needed to pass legislation.
Cortez’s conciliatory announcement was lit into by his fellow Democrats. He later returned to his district, citing a lack of “substantive results” when working with House Republicans on the voting bills.
“After discussions on improving House Bill 3 have not produced progress, I have rejoined my Democratic colleagues in Washington, D.C. I stand firm in my resolve to remain with the Democratic Caucus until the special session ends and to do whatever it takes to fight for the freedom to vote for all Texans,” he said in a statement.
While Texas law enforcement lacks jurisdiction in Washington D.C., Phelan said that Cortez has “irrevocably broken” his “trust and the trust of this chamber.”
“As a condition of being granted permission to temporarily leave the House floor, Rep. Cortez promised his House colleagues that he would return,” the Republican added. “Instead, he fled the state.”
The House Speaker has also requested that Democrats return their $221-per-diam stipend that they’re still receiving while actively avoiding their responsibilities in Texas.