The Back MicThe Back Mic: 15 Democrats Avoid Arrest Warrants, Abbott Reimplements COVD-19 Measures, Redistricting Work to Begin Next Month

This week — House Democrats who stopped participating in the quorum break are listed, the governor opts to pause elective procedures, and the state’s redistricting tools are set to be ready by September.
August 13, 2021
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List of House Democrats Exempt from Civil Arrest

Earlier this week, Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) issued civil arrest warrants for 52 House Democrats who were continuing their month-long break of quorum. 

But 15 House Democrats were not included in that group, most of which had returned to the chamber at some point before Tuesday. Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), who is recovering from surgery, was the exception. 

Those 15 House Democrats are listed below:

  • Terry Canales (D-Edinburg)
  • Garnet Coleman (D-Houston)
  • Art Fierro (D-El Paso)
  • Mary González (D-Clint)
  • Bobby Guerra (D-Mission)
  • Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City)
  • Abel Herrero (D-Robstown)
  • Tracy King (D-Uvalde)
  • Oscar Longoria (D-Mission)
  • Eddie Lucio, III (D-Brownsville)
  • Joe Moody (D-El Paso)
  • Eddie Morales (D-Eagle Pass)
  • James Talarico (D-Round Rock)
  • John Turner (D-Dallas)
Governor Abbott Postpones Elective Medical Procedures

Positive cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19 have been on the rise since mid-July. In some areas of the state, hospital regions have a quarter of their bed capacities occupied by coronavirus patients.

The Texan Tumbler

In response, Governor Greg Abbott asked hospitals to postpone elective procedures — an operation the patient needs but isn’t immediately necessary. Abbott defined them as procedures “for which a delay will not result in loss of life or the deterioration of a patient’s condition.”

“The State of Texas is taking action to combat the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and ensure that our hospitals and communities have the resources and support they need to mitigate the virus,” the governor said in a statement.

Such a move was also done last year during the advent of coronavirus and continued for months on end.

Abbott also ordered the Department of State Health Services to work with staffing agencies to match out-of-state medical personnel with needs within Texas and open additional antibody infusion centers. The staffing directive yielded 2,500 medical personnel deployed to Texas hospitals.

Despite the new wave of cases, COVID-19 daily fatalities are increasing from early July but remain vastly lower than during the virus’ two peaks a year ago and at the beginning of 2021.

Redistricting Committee to Begin Work with Census Data in September

Now that the granular 2020 Census data has been released, the redistricting process can really begin. Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, alerted legislators on Thursday that after September 1 the necessary data should be ready to go.

“[The] Texas Legislative Council is inputting the data in to the RedAppl redistricting software, and has indicated that the software will be updated and available for use by September 1,” Hunter said in a letter.

RedAppl is the software members use to configure districts based on the demographic data supplied by the Census Bureau.

Hunter added, “After the population count data is available in RedAppl, the House Redistricting Committee will hold additional hearings to gather input from the public.”

Those hearings will be held at the Texas Capitol with virtual participation available.

Likely the subject of a forthcoming special session in September or October, the redistricting process has been delayed extensively due to complications from the pandemic.

The legislature has the ability to kick the process for state districts to the Legislative Redistricting Board comprised of the lieutenant governor, speaker of the house, attorney general, comptroller, and commissioner of the general land office. But that decision must be made before the end of August.

Because of the large delay, the 2022 primaries are likely to be pushed back to some degree, but just how much remains to be seen.

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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.