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Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Arrested for Civil Disobedience Over Voting Rights Bill

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee was arrested at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday for engaging in civil disobedience in support of a federal voting rights bill.

“Yes I engaged in civil disobedience today in front of the Hart Building in Washington, D.C., and I was arrested,” the Houston Democrat said in a video posted on Twitter.

It was unclear what Jackson Lee was doing at the building to spur the arrest.

The Hart Senate Office Building is one of three buildings within the larger U.S. Capitol complex that houses the offices of senators, including U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. These two Democrats are the targets of lobbying to change the Senate rules in order to move a federal voting rights bill.

Jackson Lee’s arrest coincides with an ongoing fight over voting access within the Texas Legislature. Across town from where she was arrested, dozens of Texas House Democrats are staying at a hotel after they fled the state earlier this month in order to stop passage of a state bill that would restrict voting.

While here, they are lobbying federal legislators in a bid to secure a federal voting rights bill that would override the measures on the agenda in Austin.

The congresswoman also posted photos of the arrest, which included images of her in zip-tie handcuffs.

“I believe when you’re getting into good trouble, when you realize the 15th Amendment has guaranteed the fundamental right to vote, any action that is a peaceful action of civil disobedience is worthy and more to push all of us to do better and to do more,” she added.

“Good trouble” is the term used by the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a veteran of the 1960s-era civil rights protests, that encourages disobeying laws for the moral good.

Jackson Lee is not the first member to be arrested in this way in recent weeks. U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio, who is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus of which Jackson Lee is a member, was arrested at the same building earlier this month.

This story originally appeared in the Texas Tribune. To read this article in its original format, click here.


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