Democratic state representatives can’t be arrested... as long as they stay out of Texas

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 5:40 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KBTX) - Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives can’t be arrested and brought back to Austin. That’s because the Department of Public Safety does not have jurisdiction outside of the Lone Star State. But that didn’t stop Republican house members on Tuesday from voting to track the group down and have them arrested and returned to Texas.

“[State troopers] can arrest them when they’re in the state. They can’t cross state lines,” explained Texas Tribune Executive Editor and co-founder Ross Ramsey. “Which is why the Democrats left the state.”

Ramsey joined First News at Four Tuesday afternoon to offer some perspective on the walkout. He said this situation reminded him of a similar walkout that happened back in 2003. Then, 11 Democratic state senators fled to New Mexico to protest Republican redistricting efforts. They held out for more than a month before returning to work. Ramsey said house Democrats could be in for a similarly extended exile.

“[House Democrats] know that if they stay in Austin, they will lose,” Ramsey explained. “If they go to Washington, they have a slim chance of maybe changing the argument in Austin, and maybe getting Washington to do something in Congress that preempts Texas law.”

Watch the full interview in the player above.

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