AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Cracks are widening in a standoff over a new GOP voting bill in Texas.
The return of some Democrats who had fled to Washington, D.C., last month to block new election laws left Republicans needing just five more lawmakers Tuesday to get back to work in the state House of Representatives.
The Texas Legislature has been at a standstill since more than 50 Democrats took off last month in protest of the measures.
The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a decision that could allow Democratic lawmakers to be arrested or detained for refusing to show up.
Democrats have until Thursday to respond to the state Supreme Court's decision.
The Austin American-Statesmen reports that the head of the House Republican Caucus said he hoped arrests wouldn't be necessary.
"I think it's incredible that we would have to consider arresting people to have them perform the office they campaigned for and honor the obligation they swore to uphold," Rep. Jim Murphy reportedly told reporters Tuesday.
However, Democrats The Austin American-Statesmen are facing pressure to hold out.
More than 20 voting-rights, abortion-rights and progressive groups sent a letter to the Democrats to stand the line, according to the Austin American-Statesmen.
"In the face of an assault on voting rights unlike anything we’ve seen since Jim Crow, on transgender kids looking to participate in youth sports programs, on access to safe medication and abortion care, on teachers looking to teach an uncensored version of history, and so much more, Texas lawmakers cannot give in to Gov. Abbott’s attempts at tyranny," the groups reportedly said in a joint statement.