Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) told Breitbart News Tuesday state Democrats have fled the state before, and if Republicans want to pass election reform legislation, they will do so.
Paxton had a similar experience as a member of the House when Democrats left in 2003 over a redistricting bill. He said legislators make $600 a month to serve, so many hold real jobs to earn a living.
“Kind of hard to do when you’re down here making $600 a month and they won’t show up,” Paxton said. “So they have an impact on people’s lives. If you’re stuck here while they’re up doing whatever they’re doing in D.C., it is impacting their families.”
“Apparently these Democrats can afford to not have jobs, but most of the legislators I know who are Republican have to have jobs to take care of their families and this makes it very difficult on their families,” he added.
In 2003, Senate Democrats fled to New Mexico, where they were holed up for 46 days. Fifty-two House Democrats went to Oklahoma, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
Paxton argued it was a “bad tactic” this time because they are “preventing votes” in the name of protecting votes.
“Fifty-one out of 181 legislators have decided that since they can’t win, they’re not going to let anybody vote on something,” he told Breitbart News.
“That, to me, is not helping any voting.”
Paxton said he was not aware of who paid for the three charter jets to Washington, D.C., and that may not be known until January, if ever, when Democrats are required to file financial disclosure reports.
The Texas legislature meets for 140 days every two years, and so Democrats are attempting to run out the clock on Republicans’ efforts to pass election integrity legislation. The governor has the ability to call the legislature back for 30 days if its work is not completed in that amount of time.
“They are running the 30-day clock out hoping the governor won’t call another one,” Paxton said, adding the Democrats have two options: never come back to the state or give up.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has vowed to arrest the legislators when they do return from Washington, D.C. and compel them to attend session. Abbott or Paxton would need the assistance of local authorities to arrest the legislators, which city or federal jurisdictions are not going to provide.
“The Democrats try to go to places where there won’t be cooperation with our state,” Paxton said.
The attorney general speculated the Democrats may be gone long enough to also effect the redistricting bill and force that process into the courts.
“If the Republican House and Senate want to pass (election reform), and the governor wants to pass it, it will be passed. The governor just has to call them back every 30 days,” he said.
“Presumably at some point, they have to come back or they have vacated their office and then they get replaced,” Paxton told Breitbart News.