The GOP speaker of the house in Texas, Dade Phelan, has signed a civil warrant to arrest state Rep. Philip Cortez, a Democrat who returned to Washington, D.C., on Sunday to block a Republican election reform bill from being approved by state lawmakers, according to The Texas Tribune.
However, various news outlet have noted it is unlikely that Speaker Dade Phelan’s signed warrant will be of any effect since Texas law enforcement lacks the required jurisdiction outside of the state.
The Texas Democrats had traveled to Washington to prevent the state House from having the necessary quorum and avoid losing votes in the special session.
More than 50 Democrat House lawmakers fled to Washington, D.C. in mid-July to temporarily obstruct efforts to pass election reform measures in the state and they intend staying through Aug. 7.
Cortez had returned to Austin, Texas, because he wanted to try to negotiate changes in the terms of the bill, according to The Dallas Morning News.
But on Sunday, Cortez said talks “have not produced progress. He flew back to D.C.
Phelan on Monday decried the actions of Cortez saying “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.”