Texas House lacks quorum as second special session begins

On August 7, 2021, the Texas House of Representatives began a new 30-day special session without a quorum. The chamber has been without a quorum since July 12 when enough Democrats left the state during consideration of House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 1 to break quorum. At least 50 members of the Democratic caucus went to Washington, D.C., where they held meetings with members of Congress about federal voting legislation.

This is the second special session to convene following the closure of the regular session on May 30. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced this new special session on August 5, one day before the first special session ended. He called the first special session in June after Democratic legislators walked out in opposition to similar legislation on May 30. Abbott vetoed funding for legislative salaries on June 21.

According to CBS News, at least 26 Democrats of the initial 50 that left in June were expected to stay in Washington, D.C. through the end of the special session. State Rep. Eddie Lucio (D), who returned to Texas, said he expected enough of the caucus to return to Austin to have a quorum within a week.

The chamber is unable to conduct official business without a quorum, which requires two-thirds of the chamber’s 150 members to be present. Republicans hold 82 seats in the chamber, meaning they would need at least 18 Democrats to achieve a quorum.