Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vows to defund state Legislature after voting restrictions bill fails, threatening salaries

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vows to defund state Legislature after voting restrictions bill fails, threatening salaries
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vows to defund state Legislature after voting restrictions bill fails, threatening salaries

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks with lawmakers on the House floor during the legislative session on Sunday, May 23, 2021.

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks with lawmakers on the House floor during the legislative session on May 23, 2021. On Monday Abbott said he would veto the section of the state budget that funds the Legislature, after House Democrats left the Capitol to deny the House a quorum.

Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

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Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday he would veto the section of the state budget that funds the Legislature, hours after a Democratic walkout killed his priority elections bill.

“No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities,” Abbott said in a tweet. “Stay tuned.”

Late Sunday night, enough Democrats left the House to break a quorum and block passage of the elections bill, Senate Bill 7, before a midnight deadline. Calling the bill’s failure “deeply disappointing,” Abbott quickly made clear he would call a special session to get it passed, though he has not specified a timeline.

Abbott’s tweet referred to Article X of the budget, which pays not only lawmakers and staff but also funds legislative agencies, such as the Legislative Budget Board. The budget covers the fiscal year beginning Sept. 1.

SB 7 was one of Abbott’s emergency items, as was another proposal that died Sunday that would have made it harder for people arrested to bond out of jail without cash.

Abbott’s tweet came minutes before the House adjourned sine die, finishing its regular session. In remarks from the dais, GOP Speaker Dade Phelan acknowledged lawmakers had unfinished business.

“We will be back — when, I don’t know, but we will be back,” Phelan told members. “There’s a lot of work to be done, but I look forward to doing it with every single one of you.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vows to defund state Legislature after voting restrictions bill fails, threatening salaries
Source: Texas Tribune