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Traditional 'arrests' of lawmakers unlikely, experts say

The warrants in this case are civil, meaning lawmakers would have a difficult time moving House members forward.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas House members voted Tuesday for the sergeant at arms to use available resources, including arrest warrants, to help bring more than 50 members who fled to Washington, D.C., back to the Capitol.

But the possibility of a traditional arrest is unlikely, experts told KVUE Senior Reporter Tony Plohetski.

Lawmakers are not accused of a crime, so unlike warrants in criminal cases, their information won't be uploaded into a national database; they won't be taken to a jail, or have their booking photographs or fingerprints taken.

Instead, warrants in this instance are civil, meaning that law enforcement would have difficulty compelling House members to do anything or go anywhere.

Experts say that is especially the case while they are out of state. But even once they return to Texas, officials who have studied the issue believe that, at most, House members may be escorted back to the Capitol.


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VERIFY: Yes, Texas lawmakers in the House can be arrested for not showing up, preventing a quorum