Less than two hours before midnight and the end of her 13+ hour filibuster to prevent the passage of SB5 in Texas, Republicans made the 3rd procedural challenge to Senator Wendy Davis' 13+ hour filibuster.
Sen Davis had to stand (not lean) without any breaks (even bathroom breaks) in order to maintain her filibuster against the draconian anti-abortion bill in the Texas Senate (SB5).
However rules say that what she said had to be "germane". And if she was found straying from the subject 3 times, they could shut her down.
Here's the catch: The majority Republicans favoring the bill also voted on what was germane. So when she talked about this bill being yet another hoop that women had to jump through like the previous bill requiring ultrasounds, Republicans claimed that was "not germane" and moved to shut her down.
So the Democrats, running out the clock, launched procedural question after question. The Chair clearly manipulated the rules to let a motion to close discussion in when a Democrat still had the floor.
So at 11:49pm, the Democrats lost their ability to run out the clock.
State Sen. Letitia Van de Putte rose and asked:
"At what point must a female senator raise her hand to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?"Huge whoops, catcalls, applause, cheers erupted from the gallery. In fact 11 straight minutes of shouts, screams, cat calls prevented the chair from continuing on the vote as to whether the mention of ultrasound was germane.
Nonetheless he gathered the senators together and they appeared to vote to end the filibuster.
Still the crowd shouted and yelled and none of the senators could be heard.
The clock ran down. MIDNIGHT. The crowd, unbelievably, became even louder with sustained cheers having successfully prevented SB5 from passing.
Not so fast! At 12:02, in a huddle, the Senate supposedly passed the anti-abortion bill.
Reports (and images) show that the vote was taken after midnight but then changed to be prior to midnight.
As senators left, the crowd asked, "Did it pass?" Sen Watson said
"I don't believe it was but who would know under these circumstances."
Sen Sylvia R. Garcia tweeted:
It's almost 1am and we still don't know if #SB5 was passed and we still haven't adjourned. Who's in charge?Protesters were being arrested (including older women being taken away in handcuffs.)
Some of the funnier tweets:
#TxGOP claims to know the exact moment at which life begins, but can't comprehend "midnight."
What confuses Texas Republicans:
#TXLege effectively transformed the #sb5 discourse from a women's health issue to a debate on the meaning of midnight in Texas. Incredible.Amazingly Sen Wendy Davis was still energetic enough to send out this email to her supporters after her ordeal:
Wow. What a day.
I cannot believe the amazing outpouring of support and encouragement that you delivered over the course of my 12 1/2 hour filibuster on the Senate floor.
This may seem hard to believe but I only have a few additional words to share at this time. First, I want to say an incredible and heartfelt thank you to the ten of thousands of Texans and Americans that offered their support and wishes of kindness throughout the day. Your presence at the capitol and your calls, emails, Facebook messages and tweets have sustained us and gave me the opportunity to make your voice heard.
Most importantly, I simply have no words to express my gratitude to those who lent their voice in the over 12,000 personal stories that you bravely and selflessly shared with me to object to this dangerous legislation.
Although I was the one with the microphone on the floor of the Senate today, it was your voice and your words – it was your filibuster.
Now we can’t fool ourselves. Governor Perry and the legislative leadership see their own political livelihood tied to denying women their full rights to make their own health decisions, and they won’t stop here.
I will admit I am a bit tired. But I’m ready to keep fighting and assure you I won’t stop. And, without a doubt I know you will never stop fighting for the Texas we love.
Thank you with all my heart and we will be back to fight another day.
9:44 AM PT: This morning Sen Wendy Davis emailed this update - SB5 is DEAD!
I have amazing news!
Just moments ago, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst announced to the Senate that SB5 is officially dead! Evidently, Governor Perry and the legislative leadership can hear our voices.
This amazing feat is because of you. I wanted to share this wonderful news as soon as I could.
Thank you so much for all of your encouragement, support, hard work, and most of all dedication and determination.
It is a great night for women and families in Texas and our allies across the country.
9:46 AM PT: It was not State Sen. Zaffirini that asked how she could be heard over male colleagues.
It was State Sen. Letitia Van de Putte who got to the proceedings late because she was coming in after her father's funeral.