Two Texas Democrats who fled their state for Washington, D.C., to deny a quorum on voting reform legislation are on vacation in Portugal, according to the Texas Monthly.
"Can confirm [state representative Julie Johnson (D.)] and her wife & [state representative Jessica González (D.)] and her fiancé are in Portugal for a vacation they had been planning, with non-refundable tickets, for a year-and-a-half," Monthly reporter Jonathan Tilove tweeted on Tuesday. "Still participating in caucus meetings via ZOOM."
Johnson and González were among more than 50 state House Democrats who chartered private planes to the nation's capital last month to prevent a vote on a Republican-backed voting reform bill. National Democrats praised the state lawmakers for denying a vote on the legislation, which would require ID for mail-in voting and ban unsolicited mail-in ballots. Vice President Kamala Harris, who met with the Texas delegation, said the Democrats demonstrated "extraordinary courage and commitment."
González on Tuesday told the San Antonio Express-News that "no one has shown proof" she and Johnson are on vacation and said the report was a "rumor."
Johnson and González's vacation is only the latest controversy for the Texas Democrats. Several members of the cohort tested positive for COVID-19 after flying maskless to Washington and reportedly spread the virus to members of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's (D., Calif.) staff. The lawmakers defied federal law by flying without masks, a violation that could incur up to $1.75 million in fines, the Washington Free Beacon reported last month.
Republican governor Greg Abbott (R.) vowed to arrest the Democrats upon their return to Texas to force a vote on the legislation.
"They will be cabined inside the Texas capitol until they get their job done," Abbott said.