An amazing thing happened yesterday at the Texas Senate. Lawmakers and citizens banded together to defeat SB5, a hideously restrictive anti-choice, anti-abortion bill that has been hotly contested as of late. (You can read my run-down of the hub-bub leading up to yesterday's events right here.) I watched the proceedings in the Texas Senate from 11:15 am CDT Tuesday until 3:15 am CDT Wednesday, today. It was more riveting than anything scripted or reality TV could ever dish up.
What follows below is my transcript of updates as they occurred during yesterday's insane Senate session, which ended in the citizens of Texas LITERALLY SHOUTING DOWN their lawmakers, preventing them from hearing one another and taking a valid vote on the bill as the clock ran out on the session. It was a wild ride, to say the least.
11:15 AM CDT, TUESDAY: Democratic Senator Wendy Davis' 13 hour filibuster has begun. Remember: she must stand and is allowed no food or water. Hat tip to @dedmo for this photo of what Senator Davis is wearing today.
6:10 PM CDT: Wendy is still going strong at hour 7. The testimony she is sharing from women around the state is utterly heartbreaking. If you haven't sent in a story, thought, or testimony that Senator Davis can present to the Senate and buy time, DO IT NOW RIGHT HERE!
7:35 PM CDT: 2 of 3 strikes have been called against Senator Davis. The next one will bring the bill for an immediate vote in the house, which is Republican controlled. The first warning was for veering off-topic, this one was for a fellow senator helping her apply a back brace. In other news, all hope in chivalry and humanity is now lost. 4+ hours to go.
10:04 PM CDT: Lt. Gov. Dewhurst calls Sen. Davis on a 3rd strike for allegedly veering off-topic, effectively ending her filibuster. The gallery of supporters, mostly silent until now, erupts in anger, chanting "Let her speak!" Abandon all hope, ye who enter the Texas Legislature.
10:54 PM CDT: Democratic Senators raise a challenge to Dewhurst's ending of Davis' filibuster, saying the topics Senator Davis was discussing (Roe v. Wade, ultrasounds!) were in fact completely germane to the bill at hand. I mean duh.
A 50+ minute delay ensues as the Senate tries to determine what their own rules are. T-ONE HOUR TO SINE DIE.
11:32 PM CDT: Democratic Senators Davis and Watson are at the mike, attempting to finish where Davis' filibuster was aborted (lol) by debating the Senate rules of order with just 25 minutes to go. Democratic Sen. Leticia Van De Putte arrives from San Antonio fresh from her father's funeral to lend her support against SB5.
Van De Putte is, of course, treated with contempt by Sen. Robert Duncan, who took the dais after Sen. Watson lodged a formal complaint against a decision of Lt. Gov. Dewhurst's. THIS WOMAN LITERALLY JUST BURIED HER FATHER and immediately returned to the Senate to speak her mind and do her job.
11:46 PM CDT: The senate suddenly moves to a surprise vote on SB5 as the gallery goes absolutely hog wild--chanting, screaming, drowning out the vote. They will not go quietly. Sen. Duncan attempts to gain order but the gallery of citizens ain't having it. Voting seems near impossible. They chant for 15 minutes solid, uninterrupted. Interestingly, state troopers do not move to eject them.
11:59 PM CDT: SINE DIE IN THE TEXAS SENATE. SPECIAL SESSION ENDS WITH NO CLEAR VOTE ON SB5. GALVANIZED, SHRIEKING CROWD DROWNS OUT ANY POSSIBLE VOTE, AND DOES NOT STOP. Total insanity prevails in the Texas Senate. Without hope, the people perish. God bless Texas women.
12:02 AM CDT, WEDNESDAY: For reasons known only to them, Senate still attempts to continue voting 2 minutes after official end of session while the crowd continues chanting like banshees, drowning out all order. Texas DPS officers curiously STILL do not move to arrest disorderly crowd.
12:13 AM CDT: Reports are coming out that the Senate claims SB5 passed, 17-12 despite session clearly ending before official vote. One problem: by this time, 157,000 people watching live saw what really happened. I don't think the Texas Senate fully understands the power of social media. I sure didn't until last night. DEMOCRACY, Y'ALL.
12:20 AM CDT: Crowd outside capital goes beserk, Texas State Troopers lock doors to capital building.
12:32 AM CDT: State Troopers arrest 50+ year old woman and others as Senate attempts to lie and rob Texas women of their reproductive rights. Still no confirmation as to whether SB5 vote has officially passed or not.
12:45 AM CDT: Senate still has not officially adjourned. State Troopers clear out protesters in gallery, not a female officer among them.
12:49 AM CDT: Livestream from Senate goes dark despite lack of adjournment. Curious.
1:07 AM CDT: I just personally checked back in at the Official Tx Lege site and said vote has magically been changed to being taken on 6/25. Pardon my French, but this is some BULLSHIT.
1:34 AM CDT: Senate allegedly meeting behind closed doors to determine what the hell just happened. Hundreds still lingering inside and outside state capital.
1:43 AM CDT: Filibustering Senator Wendy Davis seen sitting down (thank goodness!) inside Senate caucus upon brief opening of door as Senate debates amongst themselves what the eff actually just happened:
A caucus means closed doors. No record, no media, no public input. It seems no good can come of it.
2:02 AM CDT: Live feed suddenly back up @TexasTribune. Senators appear to be congregating? @CecileRichards, daughter of legendary Democratic Texas Gov. Ann Richards, is present in rotunda with crowd. The plot thickens.
2:15 AM CDT: Only coverage of events at Capital at this point seems to be via @ChristopherDido's U-Stream from either his tablet or cell phone. His stream is where I watched the rest of the night's events unfold. Somebody give this kid a job.
2:20 AM CDT: LT. GOV. DEWHURST DECLARES SB5 OFFICIALLY DEAD. Cecile Richards, daughter of Ann and President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, makes announcement to ecstatic crowd gathered in Capital rotunda.
You guys, this is almost unreal: WENDY DAVIS STARTED IT, HER FELLOW DEMOCRATIC SENATORS PICKED UP THE TORCH AND CARRIED HER ON THEIR BACKS, AND THE PEOPLE OF TEXAS FINISHED THE JOB IN THE FINAL MINUTES. Proof positive that the people, united, can NEVER be defeated.
2:25 AM CDT: Crowd gathered in rotunda sings "The Eyes of Texas". I'll admit, I'm crying. I have a Texas tattoo! I can't just go quietly into the night.
2:53 AM CDT: Senate has not officially gaveled out. Word is Senator Wendy Davis wants to come greet supporters in rotunda.
3:04 AM CDT: Senate officially gavels out of special session 3 hours after it actually ended. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst's parting shot: "It's been fun, but um, see ya soon." OMG, LOL GUYS! Speculation immediately begins that Dewhurst may, in fact, be a 13-year-old girl.
3:15 AM CDT: Senator Wendy Davis appears in rotunda to address gathered crowd, receives rockstar greeting. Davis gives credit due to Senators who took up the fight when she was silenced by the Senate: Sen. Kirk Watson, Sen. Rodney Ellis and particularly Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, who literally drove from her father's funeral in San Antonio to stand in defiance of SB5.
Van De Putte's last statement to the Senate re: SB5? "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?"
Talk about bringing down the house. That's what started the clapping, screaming, and cheering in the gallery and rotunda that absolutely nobody could stop.
What does it say about the mainstream media that the best reporting on the last hours of this drama was from the Texas Tribune, Twitter, and a kid with a cell phone who came to the Legislature straight from his night job in Cedar Park? These, my friends, are some bad-ass Texan women and men.
The revolution has most definitely begun in Texas. If you don't think what happened there could happen everywhere, you are either willfully stupid or painfully naive. Get mad. Get involved. Support Planned Parenthood and the Lilith Fund. Stay angry. Speak up. Be heard. And above all, GET OUT AND VOTE. Your state officials matter! Elect the change you wish to see. As I was always taught: "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."
EDIT, WEDNESDAY 11AM PDT: Dana Liebelson at Mother Jones points out that Texas Gov. Rick Perry could call another special session at any time, at which point SB5 could be added to the calendar and have ample time to pass. I wouldn't put anything past him at this point. Like I said: STAY ANGRY.
EDIT, WEDNESDAY 12:30 PM PDT: Some great raw footage of protesters disrupting the proceedings here at Statesman.com. Also, a glimmer of hope via the Texas Tribune: "For Dewhurst, a Critical Failure with a Large Audience".
BREAKING: WEDNESDAY 2:20 PM PDT: GOVERNOR RICK PERRY CALLS SECOND SPECIAL SESSION OF THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE TO BEGIN JULY 1ST. SB5 WILL BE INCLUDED AND WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY PASS. Cost of 60 days worth of special session in the Texas Legislature? $1,600.000.00.
All this concern for "women's health" and "life" comes to us on the very same day Texas executes their 500th death row inmate, a woman. She is Gov. Perry's 261st.
Call Perry's office at (512) 463-2000 or (512) 463-1782 and let him know you disagree with his recall of the abortion issue. The 2nd number allows you to leave a recorded message. You don't have to live in Texas or be registered to vote to do so. Some cities in Texas one could be calling from: Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto, Leander, Cedar Park. (Hat tip to commenter @Thelter for the suggestion.)
Lastly, remember to register and VOTE 'EM OUT if you want real change. More to come as it happens.
I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison