As part of the Democrats who had left for Washington in an attempt to block voter restriction from passing returned to Texas, the House could at last reach a quorum with 113 members present.
In a recent interview with the Texas Tribune, speaker of the House Dade Phelan highlighted the fact that they had reached quorum without having to open a dialogue with Democrats.
“Absolutely no deals made,” said Phelan.
During the interview, the Speaker of the House said that while navigating the quorum break, he was especially mindful of not doing “un-repairable harm” to the chamber, indicating that could have happened if members were physically detained and brought to the chamber.
However, Phelan failed to mention that both members of the Texas Department of Public Safety and sergeants-at-arms from the state House of Representatives went to the homes of absent Democrats with civil arrest warrants last week, marking the first-time law enforcement has been involved in trying to compel Democrats back to the Capitol.
Weeks later, when Democrats took off for Washington, Republicans authorized the option of using law enforcement to find them — but were not able to use it, since state troopers have no jurisdiction beyond Texas, as reported by WYMT.
It is not possible to know if the Speaker did not request law enforcing measures over precautions of causing “un-repairable harm” or if he was simply unable to enforce them.
Despite having Democrats back in the capitol and still with many pending items to discuss -such as virtual learning options- Phelan has stated that it will take time for there to be camaraderie again.
“The quorum breaks, this happened in 2003. It took time to heal but it eventually occurred. And members come from very different perspectives. 150 members on the house floor and they each are here to represent their districts. And sometimes we may not agree with one another but eventually, we will get on the house floor and have robust debate that is very respectful and impactful, and we will move on down the road and that is what is going to happen in the coming weeks,” Dade Phelan said. According to the Texas Tribune, while the quorum break posed the toughest test for Phelan as speaker yet, he said it did not change his mind about seeking another term behind the gavel.