2 Texas Democratic legislators are vacationing in Portugal after fleeing the state over GOP elections bill: report

Texas State Rep. Julie Johnson, one of the two legislators currently in Portugal, hugs US Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) after a meeting between the senator and members of Texas House Democratic Caucus at the US Capitol July 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Texas State Rep. Julie Johnson, one of the two legislators currently in Portugal, greeted Sen. Amy Klobuchar at the US Capitol July 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Reps. Julie Johnson and Jessica Gonzalez are on vacation in Portugal while the rest of their Democratic colleagues remain in DC.
  • Their absence will not affect Texas Democrats’ efforts to break quorum and block a new GOP elections bill.
  • The two legislators are reportedly “still participating in caucus meetings via ZOOM.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Two of the dozens of Texas Democratic state legislators that fled to Washington, DC last month are currently on vacation in Portugal, the Texas Tribune reported.

Reps. Julie Johnson and Jessica Gonzáles and their wives planned the trip a year and half in advance and had non-refundable tickets, according to Texas Monthly reporter Jonathan Tilove.

Tilove also said that the legislators were “still participating in caucus meetings via ZOOM.”

The legislators’ absence from Washington, DC will not affect the Democratic legislators’ bid to block a controversial GOP election bill in the state, as long as there is a lack of a quorum at the state capitol in Austin. But the reports could increase political pressure on the group, whose advocacy in Washington has been mired by a series of positive COVID-19 tests and the emergence of a photo of a Miller Lite case on one of the legislators’ busses. Gonzáles is the vice chair of the Texas House Elections Committee, making her absence particularly notable.

Republican legislators were quick to capitalize on the legislators’ “European vacay.”

The news of the legislators’ absence broke as more than 100 state legislators from around the country fly in for a “week of action” to promote the “For the People” Act, a sweeping voting rights bill that is currently stalled in the Senate.