Yesterday, Texas state senator Wendy Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat, once again singlehandedly threw some sand in the gears of the retrograde and fascistic machine that is the Republican-controlled Texas state legislature:
The special session of the Texas Legislature closes at midnight tonight. Senate Bill 5 will close all but 5 abortion clinics in Texas including all of the ones in the poorest, most rural regions. If prochoice advocates, hundreds of whom have traveled from all over the state, have a hope of beating the bill it lies with Senator Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth. She intends to filibuster — by speaking continuously for the remainder of the day. If she fails, the bill will almost certainly pass.
The Republicans tried every trick in the book and some that weren’t in order to stop her. At one point, one of them objected because she’d had help putting on her back brace. And at fifteen minutes to midnight, she was finally silenced when her discussion of mandatory ultrasound testing was called “not germane” to the bill — but even though her filibuster was stopped, the crowd made up of her fellow Democratic legislators and thousands of pro-choice Texans erupted into chanting so loud and sustained that the Republicans weren’t even able to start a vote on the bill until 12:03 am — three minutes after the legislative session had expired. But the Republicans tried to (literally) turn back the clock, not realizing that 180,000 people were watching their every move:
I watched. They initiated the vote roll-call at 12:03 (by my comp time) in a panic. The recorder literally wrote the time down and hit the electronic time stamp. Several Dem legislators held their smartphones up in the air at the video feed that showed 12:03 at count.
The Tx. Leg website posted the vote was taken at 6/26 – after midnight.
Five to six minutes later, AS I was looking at the site, it shut down, then refreshed and miraculously posted the vote as 6/25 - before midnight. Obviously this was seen by others, on smartphones, in the Rotunda – because it totally erupted again.
Then the AP posted screenshots of before and after on it’s website.
By that time, apparently, the Republicans realized that they had a viewing audience of over 180,000 people and that their dirty little trick had been picked up by the AP and others and broadcast. And the citizens of Texas let them know -loudly- that they weren’t going to let political dirty tricks rule the day.
Funny how this little factoid doesn’t seem to have been given much notice in the aftermath of Senator Davis’ success.
This isn’t the first time she’s filibustered a bunch of one-percenter jerks to a standstill — she’s done it once before, in 2011, to stop the runaway train of vileness that was the state’s budget bill, forcing Rick Perry to call a special session.
Yes, Perry will likely try to call for a special session just so he can pass this bill and make abortion de facto illegal for non-rich people in Texas. But there are already rumblings among the Tea Party set that this would be a waste of money. Stay tuned!