On day three of the Democratic walkout, the unusual quiet under the dome in Austin was replaced with intensified political posturing across state lines.
"They've made redistricting more important than the real priorities of Texas," said Rep. Pete Gallego. Holed up at the Oklahoma Holiday Inn, the Democrats issued a press statement accusing Republicans of misusing law enforcement. DPS troopers have reportably been harassing nurses at a neonatal unit where Rep. Craig Eiland's premature twins are being hospitalized. The Republicans fired back, saying that bills on education, homeland security, and human cloning are all in jeopardy because of the Democratic stunt.
"I'm disappointed that they chose this maneuver," said Rep. Carl Isett, describing a damaged bipartisan spirit. "If they walk out on this issue, will they walk out when we're trying to resolve the budget?," he asked.
"The resolution to this problem is fairly simple and straightforward," said Rep. Gallego. "Drop consideration of the uneven and unfair redistricting efforts and we all go back to work immediately in Texas," he said.
In the meantime, a new debate has erupted as to how much the Democratic standoff is costing the state in terms of wasted time in the legislature. "I think I heard yesterday that everyday the legislature is in session costs about $1.5 million," said Isett. "The reality is that it costs in the neighborhood of $30,000. That's a 97% exaggeration rate," said Gallego.