Texas Democrats plan to leave state to halt GOP election bill

Democratic lawmakers from the Texas Legislature plan to leave the state so there won’t be enough lawmakers present to hold a vote on Republican elections bills, two sources familiar with the plans confirmed to CBS News. 

They plan to head to Washington, D.C., to prevent a quorum during the special legislative session that is being held because they scuttled the May legislative session —  also by leaving —  to block a sweeping elections bill

Texas lawmakers returned to Austin last week to start a special session. Governor Greg Abbott asked lawmakers to address election integrity, bail reform, border security, social media censorship, transgender sports and critical race theory.  Passing an election bill is one of the top priorities for Republican lawmakers during the special session.

The decision to leave the state echoes a move by Democratic lawmakers in 2003 who fled to Oklahoma during a fight over redistricting. Leaving the state would prevent law enforcement officials from rounding up lawmakers and forcing them to go back to work. 

Republicans lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced major election bills last week that were largely similar to the bill Democrats blocked in May. Committees in both chambers heard hours of testimony before ultimately advancing the bills. They were slated to receive floor votes as early as this week. 

Ed O’Keefe contributed to this report.

This is a breaking story. It will be updated.