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Abbott Says He'll Defund Legislature, Call Special Session

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As a result of Sunday's walkout by Democrats that effectively ended the legislative session, Abbott vowed to defund lawmakers for not doing their job.

Gov. Greg Abbott says he will defund the legislature and call for a special session after Democrats blocked one of the nation’s most restrictive voting bills late Sunday night.

Abbott took to Twitter after last night’s surprise walkout by Democrats that killed a series of restrictive voting measures, including rules around mail-in ballots, voter registration, poll watchers, voting hours and curbside voting. The election bill would also create a slew of new criminal penalties for voters and election workers in Texas.

The Republican governor said in a statement that items addressing election integrity and bail reform were "must-pass" emergency items this session and that they will be added to the special session agenda. He also vowed to veto Article 10 of the budget, which funds lawmakers. Abbott tweeted "no pay for those who abandon their responsibilities."

Democratic House member Michelle Beckley of Carrollton said it was the Democrats' responsibility to fairly assess the voting bill.

“There were parts of that bill we had never seen in committee that had never been vetted,” Beckley said. “We just couldn’t let it go. There were things that were really going to hurt souls-to-the-polls. There was a section that was going to make it easier to overturn elections. Those things were not vetted and they were thrown in, in the last 24 hours.”

Beckley said the bill unfairly targets Black voters, those with disabilities and older voters.

Republicans in Texas and in at least a dozen other states say these laws will help eliminate voter fraud, though there is little evidence of widespread fraud.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Bill Zeeble at bzeeble@kera.org. You can follow him on Twitter @bzeeble.

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