HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — August 6 is the 56th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and Texas Democratic lawmakers marked the anniversary still in Washington D.C., continuing their quorum break.
The Voting Rights Act was signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, a former Texas Democratic Senator, and State Representative. Now, a new generation of Texas democrats is fighting for voting equality.
The group of Democrats said they’re staying in Washington as Governor Greg Abbott called a second special session.
“This is a fight, not just for voting rights,” said Representative Alex Dominguez, who represents Brownsville’s District 37. “But really, this is a fundamental American right that we thought was important enough to leave Austin and come up here to fight and do the lobby work for not just our state, but multiple states.”
Dominguez said the group had two goals when they left Austin at the start of the first special session in July.
The first was to “stop HB 3 before it could be passed”, which they achieved.
Without a quorum in the lower chamber, House Bill 3 could not pass both chambers and be sent to Governor Abbott to be signed into law.
Governor Abbott said in the past that he would call special sessions up until the midterm elections in 2022 if he needed to, and he followed through with that, calling for a second special session to begin August 7.
Dominguez told Valley Central that the Democrats weren’t concerned with the new special session.
“The way I look at it is, they have offered this bill two times, and we’ve killed it both times. So, we’re two for two. I would not vote against us,” said Dominguez.
One of the new issues on the special session is changing the quorum rules for legislative sessions. But, without a quorum present, the change to the rules cannot be approved.
The group’s second goal would be more difficult to achieve.
“Move the needle here in D.C. so that we could address voting rights nationwide and provide a minimum basis for voters to have securities anytime they go to the ballot box,” explained Dominguez.
Dominguez told Valley Central that they were able to achieve that goal recently.
“We were able to move the needle enough to encourage them to put forward a new voting rights bill, which the senate should be voting on here in the next couple of days,” said Dominguez.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that he would try and bring one of the voting bills, the ‘Right to Vote Act’, to a vote before the Senate’s August recess begins.
In the meantime, the group of Democrats said they have no plans to return to Texas soon.