MSNBC host Joy Reid compared threats to arrest Texas House Democrats who fled the state throwing a tantrum over an election integrity bill to the Fugitive Slave Act.
“I have to talk to you about this threat to have you all arrested when you return to Texas, and supposedly to track you down like the Fugitive Slave Act is still in force now,” Reid said to Texas Democrat state Rep. Chris Turner on Tuesday. “What do you make of that, those threats?”
The Fugitive Slave Act was passed in 1850 and signed by President Millard Fillmore of the Whig Party, and mandated runaway slaves be given back to their slaveowners. Reid’s comparison of this awful act to attempts to make lawmakers do their jobs does not hold up.
Joy Reid compares the possibility of arrest warrants going out for Texas Democrats who flew to Washington D.C. to avoid doing their jobs to…the Fugitive Slave Act? pic.twitter.com/KqZOn0GEK2
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) July 13, 2021
Over 50 Texas Democrats flew on chartered planes to Washington, D.C. Monday to prevent a quorum vote on election measures via a special legislative session. The state senate still passed the bill Tuesday, however. Among other provisions, it blocks drive-thru voting and prohibits election officials from forwarding unsolicited mail-in ballot applications to people.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott sounded off Monday evening on Fox News, noting, “Isn’t this the most un-Texan thing you’ve ever heard — Texans running from a fight? They’re quitters.”
“Once they step back into the state they will be arrested and brought back to the Capitol and we will be conducting business,” Abbott added.
This isn’t the first time Texas Democrats have run from a vote. On May 30, lawmakers left the chamber before the regular legislative session ended to avoid a vote on the bill. Back in 2003, Democrats fled to Oklahoma in an attempt to avoid passing a redistricting plan after then-GOP Gov. Rick Perry called for a special session.
There must be two-thirds of the 150-member House available in the chamber for business to continue as usual. House rules also permit a motion to “to secure and maintain a quorum,” which 15 members must second. In such a scenario, the speaker can lock the doors and instruct police to locate and arrest fleeing lawmakers.