Passions have been running high among pro-life and pro-choice supporters at the Texas Capital. On Wednesday, a day after an hours-long debate on House Bill 2 before a packed gallery, representatives passed the bill that adds new restrictions to abortion regulations.
While the heavily Republican chamber was voting, a pro-choice supporter expressed her displeasure loudly and clearly, drawing the attention of several well-armed Texas Department of Public Safety officers. The lawmen carried her out of the gallery and placed her under arrest.
You can see more of Bob’s Capital coverage and read more about HB2 on the Texas Tribune site, http://www.texastribune.org.
Tuesday’s filibuster by state Sen. Wendy Davis blew up into the rowdiest night in memory at the Texas Capitol when thousands of pro-choice supporters–only a few hundred of whom were able to fit into the Senate gallery–raised such a ruckus that senators couldn’t get their vote on controversial Senate Bill 5 done before the special legislative session’s midnight deadline.
Davis, a Democrat from Fort Worth, mounted a 10+ hour unassisted talk-a-thon in an attempt to stop passage of the Republican-backed bill that would have severely restricted access to abortions in the state. Her efforts became a cause celebre among liberal-leaners across the country. Read more about it here.
Davis’s and her fellow Democrats’ dramatic efforts will likely be for naught, however. Gov. Rick Perry immediately called lawmakers back to Austin for a second special session that begins July 1, and every parliamentary trick in the book is unlikely to keep the bill from passing. Republicans hold a majority in both the Senate and in the House, where the bill passed last week.
About two hours into an expected 12-hour filibuster to hold up passage of a strict anti-abortion bill, orange-shirted abortion-rights supporters pack the gallery in the Texas Senate chamber in Austin on Tuesday. Senator Wendy Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat, used her only option to keep Senate Bill 5 from coming to the floor for a vote, where Republican senators hold enough votes to pass it.
Davis’s filibuster will end at midnight, when the legislature’s special session ends. The drama is unlikely to end there, however, as Gov. Perry can call a second special session and compel lawmakers to finish their business.
The proposed law, which would, among other things, ban abortions after 20 weeks, brought Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards to Austin to rally the troops on Monday evening and again Tuesday morning at a Capitol protest. Thousands of Texans on both sides of the issue flocked to the Capitol on Sunday when the bill was debated but not voted on.
For the latest on the issue, check the Texas Tribune site.
Things are getting pretty heated this week as the Texas legislative session winds down. The vibe was more relaxed in mid-March when State Rep. Linda Harper-Brown of Irving took a shine to well-dressed six-month-old Jose Alejandro Rocha when he and his parents visited the House chamber. Gotta love the argyle sweater and pink bow tie!
Movie writers in Austin this week for the annual South by Southwest Film Festival got a unique Texas-style treat–and it didn’t involve barbecue.
Promoters of a feature film, Loves Her Gun, bused members of the press to Red’s shooting range on Monday to create some buzz before the movie’s premiere later that day. Each guest got a chance to shoot five rounds at the target with a handgun. They also met the star, Trieste Kelly Dunn, the director, Geoff Marslett, writers and other cast members.
Bob joined Sonia Smith of Texas Monthly to cover the event.
Newly elected Texas state Sen. Sylvia Garcia was sworn in today at the Capitol in Austin, with Gov. Rick Perry doing the honors and Sen. John Whitmire holding the ceremonial Bible in the Governor’s Press Room. Our studio manager and second shooter Marjorie Kamys Cotera was there, and got this nice shot of the proceedings.
Garcia, a former Harris County Commissioner, won a hotly contested special-election battle against fellow Democrat Carol Alvarado although few voters in their Houston-area district seemed to care about the race to fill the seat vacated when Sen. Mario Gallegos passed away last fall following a lengthy illness. Barely six percent of registered voters turned out. Alvarado will return to her seat in the Texas House of Representatives.
German magazine Stern featured one of Bob’s photos from last summer’s Paralympic Games in London in its year-ender issue. Our agents rarely send us tearsheets anymore, so it was a pleasure to get this one from Polaris. No idea what the caption says, partly because we don’t speak German well enough and partly because the image quality isn’t quite good enough.