No end in sight for special legislative session stoppage

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 5:22 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - One week after Democrats in the state House of Representatives walked out of the special legislative session, not much has changed.

“I don’t think we’re going anywhere,” said Texas A&M political scientist, Kirby Goidel. “At least not in the short term.”

He explained that the Democrats in Washington have shown no signs of caving on their stance and neither has the governor. Goidel said he doesn’t expect the Democrats to return by the end of this special legislative session. But he does expect the governor to call another special session, which would mean that the Democrats would have to leave again, something that he boiled down to a war of attrition.

“At the end of the day it’s hard to see how the governor doesn’t win this battle,” Goidel said. “But Democrats hope to make it very visible, hope to bring attention to it, and hope to win over some public support from taking these actions.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott slammed Texas Democrats for leaving the state instead of attending the...
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott slammed Texas Democrats for leaving the state instead of attending the special session.

He said the Democrats can choose to stay in exile and keep the session in a holding pattern as long as they are willing, but that will mean staying out of Texas, away from their family, friends and lives.

Goidel noted the only other option for Democrats in Washington, D.C. is to, “try to push Democratic lawmakers to attack the voting rights issue from the federal level. If they do that, that would presumably supersede whatever would happen at the state level.”

Meanwhile, the state senate continues to conduct business. Last week, the chamber voted to advance two bills that would limit how transgender students in Texas can compete in interscholastic sports. But that might be for not, as Goidel said the walkout may prevent it from getting to the governor’s desk.

Sen. Bryan Hughes presents SB 3 to the Texas Senate.
Sen. Bryan Hughes presents SB 3 to the Texas Senate.(KLTV)

“[Texas Republicans are] trying to put pressure on Democratic lawmakers, by using Senate legislation in order to say ‘Here’s some things you might really want, so if you don’t come back, these things that you want, are also not going to get passed,’” Goidel said. “And things that are more politically popular are also not going to get passed.”

He explained that Republicans are using bipartisan supported legislation like the extra payment for educators, to try and turn the tide of public opinion and force the Democrats’ hand and get them to return to session.

As both sides continue to dig their heels in, it’ll be up to the leaders in both parties to find a way to negotiate a path forward.

Watch the full interview in the player above.

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