Less than a week into the special session, on the floor of the Texas Senate, lawmakers approved SB-1, the election reform bill Republicans claim will help restore confidence in the Democratic process.
The measure out laws pandemic-driven experiments adopted exclusively by Harris County, like drive-through voting and 24- hour polling places.
SB-1 would also grant poll watchers enhanced access, which Democrats fear, could lead to "voter intimidation."
"I'm as serious as a heart attack, that's going to cause problems," said State Senator John Whitmire, a Democrat from Houston.
Meantime, more than 50 House Democrats, who collectively abandoned the state capital aboard charter buses and jets, gathered in Washington to defend their quorum busting defection and call on Congress to intervene.
"We are not here smiling. We are not spiking the ball. We are not saying we are happy, in fact we are sad for Democracy in the state of Texas," said State Representative Rafael Anchia, a Democrat from Dallas
"Trump lost this election and they need to tell the people the truth and if they won't I'm going to," said State Representative Senfronia Thompson of Houston.
Governor Greg Abbott is unsympathetic, pledging to take the eloping Democrats into custody as soon as the return to Texas soil.
"Once they step back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested and brought back to the Texas Capitol and we will be conducting business," said Abbott.
Amid all the sound, fury and political posturing, Rice Political analyst Mark Jones says polling shows most Texans aren't particularly interested in the "suppression versus integrity" debate raging in Austin.
"An overwhelming majority of Texans aren't paying attention to this. They are far more concerned with the economy and public safety and health care. On the Democratic side, they would have you believe this is Jim Crow 2.0 voter suppression, when all it is, is putting back the rules where the rules were in 2018 and in a place that is more inclusive than in a majority of U.S. States," said Jones.
Jones also noted zero proof of election altering fraud has been detected, as alleged by many Republicans.
SB-1 was approved on and 18-4 and now heads to the Texas House.