AUSTIN, Texas — Democrats in the Texas legislature fled the state Monday to head to Washington D.C. They say it's the last move in their playbook and a final effort to try and stop GOP-sponsored legislation they consider discriminatory.
More than 50 state House members now on the ground in Washington. They landed at Dulles International Airport late Monday evening. A large group boarded chartered jets in Austin to leave Texas ahead of the special session resuming on Tuesday.
However, It's not the first time a legislative battle has included politicians fleeing across state lines.
Let’s connect the dots.
The last time Texas lawmakers went on the lam in another state was 2003.
Back then the battle was over redistricting. Democrats were trying to block republicans from redrawing congressional districts. In May, as the Republican led legislature prepared to convene, it became clear almost all the house Democrats were gone. Their absence meant there wasn’t a quorum, which just means there weren’t enough lawmakers for a vote to be valid.
Democrats fled to Oklahoma, threatened with arrest
So where did they go? Turns out over 50 house democrats had fled to a motel in Ardmore Oklahoma. Their republican colleagues quickly voted for the Texas rangers to round them up and arrest them. But the group known as the killer d’s crossed state lines before the rangers could grab them. When time for the bill expired… the democrats returned to the lone star state.
More sessions, redistricting passed
But of course that is not the end of the story then governor Rick Perry called special sessions. This time eleven senate democrats fled to new Mexico to stop the vote. But after a month-long standoff, Democrat John Whitmire blinked, returning to Texas and the redistricting plan passed.