Texas Legislature

Texas Democratic Lawmakers Get Knocks on Doors From Law Enforcement

Some Democrats question whether they can be handcuffed and forcibly arrested

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Law enforcement officers on Friday showed up at the homes of some Texas Democratic lawmakers who broke quorum a month ago to block a controversial election bill. But nobody was arrested.

Republicans, who need just four of them to return to do business, have been threatening to arrest the missing representatives.

Meanwhile, some Democrats questioned whether the arrests could be by force and if they’re not, they vowed to simply refuse to go.

"They'll say, ‘Hey, we want you to come with us’ and my answer will be, ‘I'm sorry but unless you put handcuffs on me you're not taking me from my home or place of business,’” said Rep. Ramon Romero of Fort Worth.

Romero said he planned to return home from Washington Friday.

It’s been a month now since Democratic lawmakers fled Austin to stop the special session and a Republican bill on election reforms. Republicans are threatening to arrest the Democrats for breaking quorum, but so far, that hasn’t happened. NBC 5’s Scott Gordon updates where the stalemate stands.

Republicans are sidestepping the question of whether the opposition members would be handcuffed.

"It's not like a criminal arrest where you're fingerprinted and taken to a jail cell,” said Rep. Stephanie Klick, a Republican from Fort Worth. “What would happen to them is they'd be brought to the chamber here in Austin to do their job."

It's called a "civil" arrest.

Republicans clearly seem reluctant to drag members of the opposition party back to the Capitol.

"This is just the majority party exhibiting its power,” Romero said. “It's unfortunate. But I'm coming home.”

Other Democrats also planned to return to Texas on Friday and it was unclear how many would remain in Washington.

Republicans say they are confident they’ll ultimately win – even if it takes a while.

"The Democrats evidently do not have an end game in mind. We have been showing up to work every day,” Klick said.

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