On Monday, 51 Texas lawmakers boarded planes to Washington, D.C.
The legislators, the majority of the Texas Home of Representatives Democratic delegation, had fled their state in hopes of stopping a vote on payments that will change the occasions and ways in which residents within the state could vote, in addition to the expertise Texans could have whereas casting a poll. The Democrats say the proposed legal guidelines would include the very actual chance of voter suppression and intimidation; one measure in query, for instance, would permit untrained and armed ballot watchers to face shut sufficient to voters to see how they vote.
On Saturday, that growing political story ran headlong into the realities of the continued pandemic, when three of the Texas Democrats reported testing optimistic for COVID-19.
Learn extra: In Texas, Democrats Go All In to Battle Voting Restrictions
All three lawmakers had been vaccinated, in keeping with their caucus, as have most different members of the Texas Home of Representatives. Amongst those that had examined optimistic Saturday had been state Rep. Celia Israel, 57, a Democrat representing a district that features Austin and close by suburbs. The district, the place individuals of shade make up the vast majority of residents, reviews one of many increased vaccination charges within the state. It’s made up largely of Travis County, the place 61.84% of residents 12 and over have, like their consultant, been totally vaccinated. Statewide, about 59% of all Texas residents in that age vary have been totally vaccinated.
“Let this be a reminder that COVID-19 remains to be very a lot amongst us, with an infection charges on the rise and extra infectious variants spreading nationwide,” Israel stated in a press release issued Saturday night. “Whereas I’ve totally complied with CDC pointers and am totally vaccinated this is not going to 100% forestall an infection.
“Fortunately I’m doing properly and hope to recover from the an infection with delicate signs. I’m at present quarantining till I take a look at destructive. I urge anybody not vaccinated to take action as quickly as potential to assist cease the unfold.”
The Texas Home Democratic Caucus didn’t establish the 2 different members of the delegation who’ve examined optimistic for the coronavirus. (I used to be alerted to Israel’s standing as a result of I used to be in masked however shut contact together with her whereas reporting this week.) COVID-19 circumstances have been on the rise in Texas, as in most states within the U.S., which consultants have attributed to elements together with the extremely contagious Delta variant and the slowing price of vaccinations. On Thursday, Austin officers tightened town’s COVID-19 pointers in response to an alarming spike in circumstances.
Learn extra: Texas Was Already One of many Hardest States to Vote in. It Could Get Even More durable
Earlier than the information of the optimistic exams, shops like Fox Information, in addition to the lawmakers’ political opponents again dwelling, had highlighted photos of legislators aboard a constitution flight from Texas to Washington, D.C., during which many seem to not have worn masks. Whereas business airways require all passengers to put on masks throughout flights, present CDC pointers don’t suggest them for individuals who have been totally vaccinated. Breakthrough COVID-19 circumstances are potential even after vaccination—as could be the case with any vaccine—however there may be proof that these circumstances could also be much less extreme. An AP evaluation discovered that about 99% of COVID-19 hospitalizations within the U.S. in Could had been amongst unvaccinated individuals.
Israel additionally thanked her Republican and Democratic colleagues for the properly needs and concern some have expressed for her and for her companion, whom Israel had deliberate to marry Thursday on the ground of the Texas Home of Representatives, earlier than the delegation determined to flee the state.
“Most significantly, I hope this occasion highlights the sacrifices we’re keen to make for the reason for democracy,” the lawmaker stated in her assertion. “I’d not change something to guard the appropriate to vote.”