Dozens of Democratic legislators fled the US state last month to stop the passage of a bill they said would restrict voting rights.
The measure, which came on Tuesday night after Republican state lawmakers in Texas voted earlier in the evening to allow the arrests, permits authorities to detain and bring the legislators to the state capitol upon their return to Texas.
The move is part of a larger effort by state Republicans to force a vote on the controversial voting legislation, which has gained national attention and has been condemned by President Joe Biden.
While Republicans have the votes needed in the state’s House of Representatives to pass the legislation, a mass exodus of Democratic legislators from the state in July prevented the quorum needed to proceed with the vote.
Democratic legislators had previously staged a walkout in the chamber in May to stop an earlier vote on the legislation.
State Democrats on Tuesday were quick to condemn the warrants, which were signed by Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan.
“Texas Republicans continue to show they’ll stop at nothing to cling onto their power, but Texas Democrats made a promise to defend the #FreedomToVote at all costs,” the Texas Democratic party tweeted.
At least two dozen of the Democratic legislators who fled the state remain in the US Capitol, where they have sought national support for their cause, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The signing of the warrants on Tuesday came hours after the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court overturned an earlier ruling that said Abbott and Phelan did not have the authority to arrest the missing legislators.
The Texas bill, which is supported by the state’s Republican Governor Greg Abbott, comes amid a raft of state laws that advocates say would restrict voting access for some residents.
Supporters, meanwhile, say Senate Bill 7 is designed to make voting more secure.
Democrats nationwide have argued that Republican legislatures across the country have seized on former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud in the November 2020 presidential election to introduce laws that would roll back voting rights.
Meanwhile, efforts to protect voting rights at the federal level have stalled in the US Senate.