Joe Mcconnell, Steve Inskeep, Sasha Pfeiffer discussed on Morning Edition


On for maybe 15 minutes, and it seems to have dissipated South Adedy Alvarado Niles, the crash might still be in the left lane and the crash North 8 80 north of Montague Expressway has been clear to the shoulder. Joe McConnell for KQ B T K Q B D News with Brian Water head at 6 22 and again at 8 22 coming up San Jose City Council Has approved a series of gun control measures that could become laws if approved again in September. In the meantime, the city is figuring out how these measures some of them, the first of their kind in the country would actually work. And also the Bay Area has been hot this summer. I don't need to tell you that cake you it is science Laura Clive UN's talks about this summer's heat and puts it in the context of climate change. Join us ahead, Brian, with the story and our reporters for you at 6 22 and again at 8 22 right here on member supported KQED public radio. Time now, 607. It's morning edition from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep, and I'm Sasha Pfeiffer. Dozens of Texas Democrats have left the state and gone to Washington, D. C in an effort to stop Texas Republicans from passing new voting restrictions. They say they plan to stay away for weeks until the end of a special session on August 7th. Here's Texas State representative Trey Martinez Fischer last night after the group landed. There is nothing special about this special session. This is a suppression session. This is a session to suppress our voting rights. Ashley Lopez from member Station Kut in Austin joins us for more Ashleigh Good Morning. Good morning. This is the second time recently the Democrats stop devoting Bill in late May. They walked out of the building right before a vote. Why did this time they leave the entire state? Okay, so the reason and they had to leave the whole state this time is that if Democrats are within state lines during the special session, and if a quorum is called in the Texas House state police could arrest these lawmakers and then force them back into the Legislature to vote on these bills. The Democrats have talked to say they are prepared to stay out of the state. That entire time, though, which could be As late as August 7th, which is when the special legislative session is supposed to end. It's basically as if they fled the state. What led to this dramatic step? Well, you know, this was kind of another breaking point for Democrats. Republicans have been passing voting restrictions for years, and Democrats say this time they were going too far in proposing massive changes to the election code based on a lie told by former President Trump and his allies that the 2020 election was stolen. And to give you a sense of what's in these bills. You know if they passed, Texas would have new restrictions on ballot by mail voting hours, and there would be a bunch of new criminal penalties related to voting, which voting rights groups have warned that could lead to people getting in serious legal trouble for, you know, innocent mistakes. I talked to Democratic State representative John Goosey about this and you know, I asked him why they're like walking away yet again. Instead of working something out through the legislative process, there is no bipartisan ground to start with when you're working on a bill that is directly tied to a lie. And tied to restricting voting access, So that's why this is different. This isn't based in solving a problem. Democrats were also facing a timing crunch because two big voting bills were voted out of committee over the weekend one in the middle of the night, and both the Texas House and the Texas Senate were expected to take full chamber votes on to build this week. So these bills were moving very fast. This time in Texas Republicans. What are they saying about this? It takes this Governor Greg Abbott actually issued a video statement yesterday, saying Democrats are leaving Texans in the lurch because there's still a lot of work to be done. In his remarks, he accused Democrats of putting politics ahead of their duties. The Democrats must put aside partisan political games and get back to the job they were elected to do. I should note that one of the issues that Texas faces is restoring funding for legislative staff, which Abbott actually vetoed in retaliation for the Democrats last walk out. I talk to Democrats about whether they were concerned about leaving without making sure their staff is getting paid, and they said that it's Abbott's problem to fix not there since he's the one who cut the funding. So that's like another big issue looming all over this. So these Texas lawmakers in D. C. Are they just killing time? There? Do they have a mission in Washington? Well, just like the first time after they walked out there headed to Washington to push lawmakers to pass federal voting protections, including the for the People Act in the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. So you know that's like what they have on their agenda this time. That's Ashley Lopez from member station Kut in Austin. Ashley. Thank you, Thank you. So as she said those Texas lawmakers have come to Washington to press Congress to pass the Democratic voting rights bill, but that has stalled in the Senate and President Biden faces a lot of challenges to address voting rights. He's also faced criticism for not speaking out more forcefully on the issue. Biden will deliver a speech today on voting rights at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. White House press secretary Jen Psaki previewed the case will make including against his predecessors false claims about the last election. He'll call out. The greatest irony of the big lie is that no election in our history has met such a high standard with over 80 judges, including those appointed by his predecessor, throwing out all challenges. He'll also to cry efforts to strip the right to vote as authoritarian and anti American NPR. White House correspondent Scott Detroit joins us now. Hi, Scott. Good morning. This Texas situation. What is the White House saying about it? We heard yesterday from Vice President Kamala Harris, who is leading the administration's efforts on this issue. She was actually holding a session on voting rights in Detroit when all this started happening. Harrison met with these Texas lawmakers previously after they had walked out to block that prior Republican voting bill and here is what Harris said yesterday about this. I applaud those standing For the rights of all Americans and all Texans to express their voice through their vote unencumbered, Harris put these lawmakers and pretty heady company comparing them to 19 sixties civil rights activists. But you know the length of these lawmakers are going to really speaks to a larger challenge for Democrats here and That's just the fact that you know they do not have the votes to stop these measures, whether it's in state capitals and Republican controlled states or Congress or the federal courts right now, this speech Biden is going to give today. Do you know what we should be expecting from that? Yeah, we can expect pretty stark language. Like what we heard from Jen Psaki there you Biden could be calling these moves Authoritarian. We expect them to say they are the biggest challenge to American democracy since the Civil war. But in terms of action, there's going to be a gap because we don't expect much new here especially any new announcements or tactics from the White House. The White House keeps talking about how President Biden is using the visibility and power of the presidency to push for voting rights and to call that what's going on. But today's speech had been promised for weeks now, and in the meantime, Biden has gone over seasoned back. He's negotiated infrastructure deals. He signaled a lot of other priorities and progressives have been really worried and frustrated that Biden has not been doing war, given the stakes of things as they see it, and some are even protesting outside the speech in Philadelphia today. Although the Biden administration did sue over the new voting restrictions in Georgia, the DOJ so the Justice Department that's right in the White House also points to an executive order that by it and.

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