Texas Government in Action

I usually don’t post about my political affiliation or where I fall on hot button topics.  I do not want this blog to become a political forum.  I love a good debate don’t get me wrong, but this is not the place for it.  With that being said, I loved what was happening in the Texas Senate last night.  Senator Wendy Davis began her filibuster yesterday morning shortly after 11:00 am (11:18 am to be exact) to prevent a vote on a the controversial bill SB5.  Without going into too much detail, this bill was dealing with abortion.  Throughout the afternoon and late into the evening Senator Davis continued speaking on point about this bill.. During this time she would not be able to eat or drink anything or use the restroom during her speech.  She wouldn’t be able to sit or lean on a desk or chair under any circumstances.  A filibuster can end if the person speaking yields the floor or after three violations of the rules for decorum and debater.   Late into the evening, the Republicans were trying to stop the filibuster and this is where all the fun and somewhat confusion began.

In Texas, our legislature meets every two years.They convene at noon on the 2nd Tuesday in January in odd-numbered year.  The maximum duration for a regular session is 140 days.  However, our governor can call a special session if necessary to deal with critical legislation.  These special sessions are limited to 30 days.  During this time the legislature is permitted to pass laws only on subjects submitted by the governor in calling for the session.  And this is where we were last night.  The special session as called by Governor Rick Perry was scheduled to end at midnight.  If the Senate did not pass the SB 5 (it had already passed in the House), the bill would die and it would not be sent to Governor Perry.

Social media was awesome last night.  I was able to watch the proceedings from the Senate floor via The Texas Tribune website.  I also followed along on Twitter at #sb5 and #txlege.  There were several tweets that were very informative, funny and some were, to be honest, down right stupid.  But, here I was late at night, watching my state legislature at work n the confines of my home in Lubbock, Texas.  Granted by the time it ended, I still didn’t know what germane and germaneness meant.  I don’t know who was right on the points of order. Senators were moving to table, moving to debate, etc.  As midnight approached Senator Van de Putte (D-San Antonio)  made the best statement of the night (in my opinion)…(when she says President, she is referring to Senator Robert Duncan who was presiding over things last night)

“Did the President hear me or did the President hear me and refuse to recognize me?  At What point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”

This statement brought thunderous cheers from the gallery.  For the next fifteen minutes, all you could pretty much hear was cheering and applause from the gallery.  These constituents were making their voices heard last night.  A roll call was attempted to vote for the bill, but as I watched the clock, it became midnight.  This meant, according to the law, the special session was over and the bill died on the Senate floor.  The bill could not be signed, enrolled or sent to Governor Perry.  Even after I turned things off shortly after midnight, there was some debate whether the vote occurred prior to midnight or right after midnight.  At 3:00 am this morning, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, officially declared the bill could not be enrolled.

I have always been fascinated by how the government works.  I am not always a fan of our legislators both here in Texas and in Washington.  Politics is a game.  I believe majority of our elected officials do try to do right by all of us. I know this battle for SB5 isn’t over.  By law Governor Perry can call another special session and this starts all over again.  I for one will be watching!