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06-26-13, 10:19 AM #1
Texas anti-abortion bill defeated by filibuster and chanting spectatorsA daylong filibuster by Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis to block abortion legislation appears to have succeeded Wednesday — temporarily, at least.Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat, held her own starting at 11:18 a.m. Central Time on Tuesday, surviving several challenges that she had violated Senate filibuster rules, but as midnight neared, marking the end of the overtime special legislative session, the Senate chamber at the state Capitoldecended into chaos.
When it appeared the filibuster would be halted and a vote taken on the legislation at about 11:45 p.m., opponents of the legislation who had packed the Senate gallery began to shout and chant, making it difficult for the Republican majority who were trying to force a vote, including Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Some Democratic senators held up cellphones, their screens displaying the time, shouting, “It’s after midnight!” Lawmakers crowded together at the front of the chamber, then left to confer with staff, but did not officially adjourn.
Initially, the Senate website showed votes had been cast Tuesday, and several Senate staffers said the legislation passed after a 17-12 vote and would go to Gov. Rick Perry, who supports it, for signing. The legislation, SB 5, would ban abortions at 20 weeks and require clinics providing abortions to upgrade or close.
But Dewhurst later announced that the vote had been held too late.
At about 3 a.m., he appeared in the Senate chamber to announce that the special session had expired and the bill could not be “signed in the presence of the Senate … and therefore cannot be enrolled.”
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