State Rep. Phil King addressed members of the Rotary Club of Weatherford via Zoom at their Tuesday meeting, after he and fellow lawmakers remained “locked in” at the State Capitol while waiting on Democrats to come back for the special session. The Texas House began its regular session Jan. 8, with things getting off to a slow start, first with COVID followed by Winter Storm Uri in February.
“In mid-April, we had things rolling and were getting things moving, but it was very late in the session,” King explained. “To all of our surprise, we got an amazing amount done, even with all those restrictions.”
On July 12, approximately 51 House Democrats fled the state via plane, breaking the the two-thirds quorum needed for lawmakers to make any decisions. Time on the first special session ran out Aug. 6, during which Abbott called a second special session to begin the next day. Still, no Democrat lawmakers.
“We’ve got an agenda to work through, and apparently these are things that are very offensive to the Democrats that I serve in the House with,” King said.
Topics on the agenda include bail reform, spend through $15 billion in federal funds, border security, social media censorship ( something King’s wife has dealt with) , transgender athletes competing in UIL, a 13th check for retired teachers, critical race theory, and Texas House Bill 6 - election integrity and security by preventing fraud in the conduct of election.
King did reference the absurdity of him and fellow house members being "locked" in the capital while the Democrats were being located out of state, even with a couple vacationing in Portugal. At the time of the presentation, some Democrats have showed up to work on the agenda items, but not enough to make a quorum. The Texas House finally got their quorum  on Aug. 19 with 99 members registered as present that evening. 
Rotary members were allowed to ask questions about immigration and mask mandates. Many members asked about the border crisis and what is being done at the state level to hinder the out of control migrant movement, causing the surge in COVID cases.
After King signed off, President Rachael Watson presented the Paul Harris Award to now two-time award recipient Joe Wilkinson, who has given over $2,000 to the grant. Wilkinson explained how his father presented him with his first Paul Harris Award when he was a member of the Downtown Rotary Club. Ron Hunn gave an update  about the Battle for the Badges, stating that only 99 pints of blood were given, which Hunn said seems to be in the new normal in the COVID world. Lions Club did win this years' competition.