After Channel 13 here in Houston directed people to the live broadcast on the internet, during the 10:00 news, I went there and watched. And there was far more to this than what was on the news.Despite barely beating a midnight deadline, hundreds of jeering protesters helped stop Texas lawmakers from passing one of the toughest abortion measures in the country.
As the protesters raised the noise to deafening levels in the Texas Senate chamber late Tuesday, Republicans scrambled to gather their colleagues at the podium for a stroke-of-midnight vote.
1) First of all, Republicans stopped the filibuster, claiming that what Wendy Davis was talking about during the filibuster was not germane. What Wendy had brought up was how the bill, coupled with the sonogram bill that had already passed earlier in the year, would impact the ability of women to get an abortion, even if it meant saving the woman's life. This, of course, WAS germane to the discussion, but this is not a point that the parliamentarian decides. David Dewhurst, the Lieutenant Governor, made this ruling himself, and without submitting it to the body for a vote, as required by the rules. He did this, of course, knowing that time was running short, and the special session was about to end.
2) This ruling was appealed directly by a Democratic Senator, and David Dewhurst recused himself from the chair, while another Republican took his place.
3) As debate began on the appeal, a motion was made by a Republican Senator to table the appeal, while the Democrat still had the floor. According to the rules of the Senate, this cannot be done while someone has the floor.
4) At this point, the Democrats began gumming up the works with countless parliamentary inquiries. With 20 minutes left in the special session, the motion to table the appeal still had not been voted on.
5) Now it gets very interesting. Democratic Senator Letitica Van de Putte makes a motion to adjourn the Senate, another stalling tactic. She is not recognized, but a Republican who makes a motion to vote on the preceding question AFTER she made hers is recognized instead. Van de Putte then calls for another parliamentary inquiry, and says the following: "How high must a female Senator raise her hand before she is recognized by her male collegues".
6) At that point, the gallery erupts with applause and yelling and screaming, disrupting the proceedings, and this does not end until midnight.
7) At 11:58 PM, the Republicans stop the Senate clock, and in the next several minutes, table the motion to appeal, and then pass the bill. It is AFTER midnight, and the special session is over, but the bill passes, nonetheless.
8) For the next 3 hours there is a conference between the Republicans and Democrats, as the Democrats are preparing to file a lawsuit against David Dewhurst in court.
9) At 3 in the morning, a compromise is worked out which states that the bill was passed in time, but was not signed out of the Senate by Dewhurst before midnight, therefore the bill did not pass.
The special session has ended with Governor Rick Perry's plan to shut down almost every abortion clinic in Texas going down in flames, in what has become known as "The Peoples' Filibuster".
Article is here.