State Rep. Nicole Collier, D- Fort Worth, the chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, speaks at a news conference at the Capitol on Sunday May 30, 2021, against Senate Bill 7, known as the Election Integrity Protection Act. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Texas State Representatives in Washington D.C. issued the following statement on the start of the second special session called by Texas governor Greg Abbott:

“Today, on this first day of Governor Abbott’s second suppression session, Texas House Democrats again broke quorum to protect the freedom to vote. Texas Republicans can only succeed in their nationally coordinated assault on our democracy if Democrats are present at the state capitol. We are not there. We refuse to be party to the Republican plan to strip away the voting rights of the citizens we took a solemn oath to protect. 26 Texas House Democrats will be part of an active presence in Washington maintained for as long as Congress is working and making progress on federal voting rights legislation to see this fight through.

“On May 30th, Texas House Democrats took a moral, strategic, and historic stand against the Republican effort to limit legal participation in our elections. We walked off the Texas House floor to kill Senate Bill 7, the Texas Republican voter suppression bill. 

“On July 12th, during the special session, 57 Texas House Democrats again denied quorum to successfully block anti-voter legislation. We moved the battle to a new front: our nation’s capital. For 26 days, Democratic members of the Texas House worked around the clock with members of Congress and the Biden Administration to pass a national standard protecting the freedom to vote. Because of our advocacy, and that of the hundreds of legislators and allies around the country who rallied to our cause, we are that much closer today to the enactment of the most sweeping voting rights legislation since the signing of the Voting Rights Act 56 years ago. 

“Texas faces grave challenges that Republicans could address. Rather than unite Texans with the common purpose of beating back the alarming rise of COVID infections, Governor Abbott and the Republican majority refuse to allow local leaders on the frontlines to put in place science-based solutions that would save lives. In fact, if Republicans reach a quorum, Texans can expect that they will lock into law Abbott’s ban against common-sense measures that have protected Texans and saved countless lives. Texas House Democrats will continue to be advocates for data-driven strategies to defeat the virus, and we will hold the Governor accountable for the lives needlessly lost because of his refusal to lead with science and collaborate with local officials.

“Our challenge has never been greater. The basic freedom to vote for our constituents and all Texans is under threat. This is part of a nationally coordinated plan by Republicans to silence the voice of Americans and hold power by any means necessary. What they could not do on January 6, 2021, they are attempting state-by-state through voter suppression legislation. We need a national, federal response to protect the voting rights of Texans and all Americans. Texas House Democrats will continue to resist, and hold the line, by any legal means necessary.” 

Representatives Gina Hinojosa, Trey Martinez Fischer, Jasmine Crockett, Ana-Maria Ramos, Eddie Rodriguez, Ron Reynolds, Ray Lopez, Christina Morales, Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, Armando “Mando” Martinez, Joe Deshotel, Mary Ann Perez, Michelle Beckley, Alma Allen, Claudia Ordaz Perez, Celia Israel, Richard Raymond, Ramon Romero, Jarvis Johnson, Rhetta Bowers, Ina Minjarez and Vikki Goodwin contributed to the joint statement.