Protesters help prevent vote on abortion bill


by TINA SHIVELY / KVUE News and Photojournalist KENNETH NULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @TinaS_KVUE

Posted on June 26, 2013 at 8:04 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 26 at 11:57 AM

AUSTIN -- Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is blaming the failure of Senate Bill 5 on hundreds of protesters. The vote for the bill came in just minutes after the midnight deadline, which means it was unable to pass.

Hundreds of protesters exploded in anger just before midnight at the State Capitol when Republicans moved to vote on a bill that has been controversial in Texas and across the United States.

More than 11 hours into a filibuster by Senator Wendy Davis, leaders ended her speech, saying a point she was trying to make was not within the rules. With just 15 minutes left in the special session, Republicans moved to vote on Senate Bill 5, and that's when the gallery erupted. People began shouting and screaming so loud that those there say you couldn't hear the person next to you talking.

There was a vote and Republicans passed the bill. The Senate's website even showed it happened after midnight. Moments later it was changed to say the vote happened on June 25.

There was then more confusion and uproar from Democrats and protesters. Lt. Governor David Dewhurst called a caucus and cleared the gallery.

After three hours he came back to say the vote did not happen before midnight, not before the special session ended, therefore the bill was dead.

Around 3:30 a.m. Senator Davis came out to address the hundreds who supported her in the gallery and through Twitter. Many used the hash tag #IStandWithWendy.

Democrats say they are prepared to continue the battle over this issue.

"Last night you saw 2 or 3 thousand people in the Capitol,"  Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa estimated. "Next time you'll see 10 thousand people in the Capitol making sure that the Republicans don't do this. They're gonna be heard and they're gonna be sure that the Republicans know there are consequences for their dirty tricks and the way  they're playing in the Texas Senate today."

 Lt. Governor Dewhurst took to Twitter to speak to more than 6 thousand followers just after 8 o'clock Wednesday morning, stating "I pledge to Texas one thing; this fight is far from over".

In addition to the abortion regulations, there are two other bills lawmakers never had a chance to vote on in this historic special session.