A Texas state legislator has pleased himself and his colleagues “fugitive“Democratic lawmakers with civil rights protesters from the 1960s, many of whom were brutalized by the police and their fellow citizens during peaceful marches.
In the opinion piece For USA Today, Texas State Representative Jarvis Johnson, D-Houston, noted that a 1965 voting rights march in Alabama included the celebrated John Lewis, the future congressman whose skull was fractured by a beating. On what became known as “Bloody Sunday,” Lewis and other protesters were physically assaulted by both police officers and white protesters trying to stop black Americans from voting.
“Today, I am one of the members of the Texas House of Representatives Democratic Caucus and the Texas Black Legislative Caucus risking our lives to protect voting rights by leaving our state on July 12 to prevent passage of the legislative assault on Republicans to access to the polls. Johnson wrote in the USA Today commentary, published Friday.
Johnson is between 56 Texas Democrats legislators and at least 12 employees staying at hotels in Washington, DC, covered by a political action committee. They have had the opportunity to meet with various members of Congress and with Vice President Kamala Harris.
It’s costing the group about $ 10,000 a day for hotel rooms and meals, one of the Texas House Democrats saying.
The special legislative session officially ended on August 6, but the governor of Texas. Greg Abbott has requested another special session.
Johnson, treasurer of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, also used a national media platform to raise money for Democrats.
“Additionally, the Texas Democrats who stay with me at a hotel in Washington, DC, are suffering financially because we hold separate full-time jobs to support our families,” Johnson wrote. “Unfortunately, many of us cannot work remotely because our job or profession does not allow it. (If you believe in our fight to protect the voting rights of all Americans and Texans, you can donate to us.) ”
The Texas ballot reform bill, which has already been approved by the state Senate, would require some form of voter identification for absentee ballots that includes a Social Security number or driver’s license number. The bill would also block drive-through voting.
In the USA Today op-ed, Johnson noted that Texas Democrats have received numerous death threats since arriving in Washington to avoid a quorum in Austin to vote on the Republican-backed electoral reform bill.
His office received 20 death threats before he asked staff to stop sending them, Johnson wrote:
Here’s just one sample: I got called the N word repeatedly. One person wrote [that] Wait for my plane to crash They told me to eat excrement and die. Another person threatened to come after me and lynch me.
Interestingly, Johnson’s article recognized the racist legacy of the Democratic Party.
Ironically, for more than 50 years between 1891 and 1942, Southern Democrats used the filibuster to block voting reform, anti-lynching and anti-ballot tax bills designed to provide black Americans with access to the ballot, ”he wrote.
Johnson also argued that the GOP-backed bill in Texas was a “dog whistle” for racist supporters of former President Donald Trump.
“But I will never be able to accept the vote suppression agenda of Republicans with blind loyalty to Donald Trump, whose motto ‘America First’ is clearly a whistle for white supremacists,” the Texas lawmaker wrote.
Both travel and lodging in Washington are free for Texas Democrats, and are largely covered by private donations and a political action committee started by former US Representative Beto O’Rourke.
Special interest donors are covering much of the cost for Texas Democrats to stay in expensive hotel rooms in DC, but Texas taxpayers are still losing close to $ 500,000 in spending for a legislative session that is not happening.
The self-proclaimed “fugitives” Texas legislators who fled their legislative session for the nation’s capital will ultimately have to report on all the private money that spills out to help them. That includes at least $ 600,000 O’Rourke’s PAC.
Another Texas House Democrat said it’s costing the group $ 10,000 a day for hotel rooms and meals in DC.
“We don’t know how long it will take to reject Republican anti-voter bills. That’s why I need your help, “State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer said in a tweet as legislators left Texas.” Every day we’re out it costs $ 10,000 for the hotel and meals. “
A legislative session in Austin costs about $ 43,000 a day, which includes $ 221 a day for each legislator plus the cost of operating legislative offices, Texas State Representative Jared Patterson, a Republican, previously told The Daily Signal.
Texas Democrats have 30 days to report campaign contributions after the end of the session, which was on Friday. However, Texas lawmakers have until next April to report gifts, or anything of value, in annual financial disclosures.
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