At 11:18 a.m. this morning, State Senator Wendy Davis began a filibuster against SB5, which includes some of the most restrictive anti-woman anti-choice regulations in the nation.
Davis is already off to a strong start, reading testimony from the The Texas District of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) opposing the bill, before beginning to read testimony from Texas women who came to the State Affairs committee meeting in which Rep. Byron Cook stopped testimony from those who opposed the bill.
For more on what this awful bill does, click here. For action updates, click here. For an FAQ on Texas filibusters, click here. For the latest, follow the #SB5 hashtag on Twitter or check in with NARAL Texas on Facebook.
Below the jump, join your BOR staffers for a live-blog from the Capitol as we stand with Wendy until midnight!
Update 1:23 p.m. from Katherine: As the filibuster enters its second hour, Senate Democrats are pushing back against the notion that Davis's advocacy for women is killing the transportation and juvenile justice bills also slated for a vote today.
Fact: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst chose to hear SB5 before SB23 and SJR2. He had the discretion to do both bills before the filibuster.
Senator Watson responded to Dewhurst's decision to put hurting women above addressing Texans' transportation needs:
Transportation and criminal justice are legitimate priorities that Texans can and should rally around. They exemplify the great things the Senate can accomplish when senators work together to address real issues. They deal with real necessities that people of Texas sent us to Austin to address.
Unfortunately, the Lieutenant Governor has chosen to put the damage that SB 5 would do to Texas women ahead of the transportation and criminal justice needs that SJR 2 and SB 23 would help address.
Update 2:00 p.m. from Katherine: Support continues to pour in for Davis and Texas women across the Twittersphere. Just a few:
Update 2:36 from Chaille: Check out the Texas Tribune's Texplainer: What Are the Rules of a Filibuster?: http://bit.ly/14vlllI
Update 2:58 from Chaille: I wonder when other Democratic members are going to help her out? Here is a copy of the rule concerning when members can speak:
INTERRUPTION OF MEMBER SPEAKING
No member shall interrupt another Senator who has the floor or otherwise interrupt the business of the Senate, except for the purpose of making a point of order, calling the member having the floor to order, moving the previous question, demanding that a point of order under discussion or consideration be immediately decided, or making a motion to adjourn or recess.
Update 3:21 from Chaille: Rumor had it from Statesman Capitol Bureau that Republicans were going to call the Question, effectively ending all debate on the bill, but Rs are not committed to that strategy yet.
Senator Davis yielding for a question from Senator Deuell, author of bill in regular session that closes most clinics #sb5#txlege
Update 3:56 from Joe: Senator Deuell said he wants to see that, "every woman gets a safe abortion under the best possible care...it's about women's health", yet he nor any other Republican is entertaining the idea of actually providing funds to bring existing facilities up to new standards imposed by SB5. It is either intellectually dishonest, or he is putting tax cuts over the care he says women should be receiving -- either way SB5 is not pro-life, it is simply pro-birth.
Update 5:39 from Ben: Sen. Kirk Watson of Austin is now asking questions of Sen. Davis.
Update 5:45 from Ben: After giving Sen. Davis a warning, other senators now asking Lt. Gov. Dewhurst what constitutes a warning and what impact that has on Sen. Davis' filibuster. Dewhurst seems baffled.
Update 6:33 from Ben: The line is expanding outside of the Capitol now that people are off of work, and the gallery is still packed.
Who thought the line to #StandWithWendy in the rotunda would ever be longer than to eat at Franklin BBQ? Democracy is delicious!
Update 7:01 from Ben: Lt. Gov. Dewhurst has called a vote on whether Sen. Ellis putting a back brace on Sen. Davis an hour ago violates the filibuster. Democratic senators rising to object, reading parliamentary rules rebutting the right to a body vote.
Update 7:11 from Ben:Sen. Zaffirini reads parliamentary rule that senator may not lean on his desk or sit on his chair, noting Sen. Davis has done neither and it doesn't apply to her because of the rule's gender specificity, to great laughs in the chamber and across the Capitol.
Update 7:15 from Chaille: Senator John Whitmire, Dean of the Senate schooling everyone about the greater good of the body, closing against the point of order.
Update 11:21 from Chaille: Reports of Senate Chamber doors being locked and doors to the capitol are locked. Lines to get into capitol span all the way down to 11th street.
Update 4:07 a.m. from Katherine: In case you haven't heard, Senate Bill 5 is dead, defeated by the deafening cheers of determined advocates in the Senate Gallery who yelled and screamed out the last 10 minutes of the clock.
For hours we were unsure if a vote had been taken, on what, and when, but in the end the Senate caucused and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst confirmed what hundreds of thousands of people were watching on YouTube and following on Twitter saw: the clock ran out on SB 5.
After the Senate caucused, Democratic senators emerged victorious into the rotunda. Davis thanked her colleagues by name for their support, and Senator Watson addressed the crowd. And then finally, finally, we got to go home.
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