AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The leader of the Texas Senate Democrats says he intervened to stop state troopers from confiscating feminine hygiene products from women trying to watch the ongoing debate over abortion restrictions.
State Sen. Kirk Watson of Austin called it a "boneheaded" and "crazy" decision to confiscate tampons as state troopers sought to take away items that could be thrown from the gallery.
Watson says he's been assured that the practice will stop.
Those in the "Twitterverse" were also paying close attention to the confiscations happening inside the Captiol. Many took to social media sites Friday afternoon to express their displeasure in having their feminine hygiene products confiscated before entering the building.
According to KVUE's sister station WFAA, reporter Jason Whitely says Department of Public Safety troopers were collecting tampons, paper, lotion, and anything else that might be thrown on to the Senate floor after the vote. He says it was a result of intel, according to an inside source.
The Department of Public Safety released a statement Friday afternoon concerning the confiscations:
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) today received information that individuals planned to use a variety of items or props to disrupt legislative proceedings at the Texas Capitol.
Therefore for safety purposes, DPS recommended to the State Preservation Board that all bags be inspected prior to allowing individuals to enter the Senate gallery, which the State Preservation Board authorized.
During these inspections, DPS officers have thus far discovered one jar suspected to contain urine, 18 jars suspected to contain feces, and three bottles suspected to contain paint. All of these items – as well as significant quantities of feminine hygiene products, glitter and confetti possessed by individuals – were required to be discarded; otherwise those individuals were denied entry into the gallery.
In the interest of the safety and security of Texas legislators and the general public, these inspections will continue until the conclusion of Senate business.
Senators gathered Friday to vote again on new abortion restrictions. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst -- the Senate president -- has tightened security and promised to stop disruptions after shouting protesters ran out the clock on a vote in the last session.