Updated at 3:12 a.m.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst returned to the Senate floor at 3:01 a.m., banged the gavel and announced that, “regrettably, the constitutional time expired” on the special session.
Senate Bill 5 cannot be signed because it passed after midnight, he said.
After making his announcement, Dewhurst paused, then added: “It’s been fun, but, uh, see you soon.”
The crowds in the Capitol, loudly cheering early word that the bill had failed, let loose with another rousing cheer when told that it was official.
Speaking to reporters afterward, Dewhurst said he was furious about the night’s events.
“An unruly mob, using Occupy Wall Street tactics, disrupted the Senate from protecting unborn babies,” he said.
Dewhurst said SB5 passed 19-10, but with all the ruckus and noise, he couldn’t hear the proceedings, and now “I can’t sign the bill” so it can go to Gov. Rick Perry.
Updated at 2:45 a.m.
Senate Bill 5 did not pass in time and will not be sent to the governor, two Democratic senators said after senators of both parties met privately in a room off the Senate floor for almost an hour.
The time stamp showing the vote completed after midnight was a deciding factor.
“This will not become law,” said Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston.
Much of the discussion was over how to word a statement on the vote in the official journal. Some senators wanted to list the vote total, others wanted to note the disruption, Whitmire said.
Senators were streaming onto the floor shortly before 3 a.m. in anticipation of an announcement.
Updated at 1:10 a.m.
Sen. Wendy Davis, speaking to a large and adoring crowd gathered outside the Senate door, thanked her supporters.
“Today was democracy in action,” she told the crowd. “You all are the voices we were speaking for from the floor.”
Her words were greeted with screaming applause that grew into an organized chant: “Wendy! Wendy!”
Speaking a few minutes earlier with reporters, Davis said the effort was worth it, even if its results were ambiguous.
“My back hurts,” she said. “And I don’t have a whole lot of words left.”
Davis also said she did not believe the vote on Senate Bill 5 was proper, and she predicted some kind of response, perhaps a court challenge, would be coming. “Constitutionally, we are not to take votes or have any other action after midnight,” she said.
The Texas Legislative Service, the online presence of the Legislature, originally listed SB5 as having passed on “6-26-13,” or after midnight. Shortly after 1 a.m., however, the listing was changed to reflect passage before midnight.
In the meantime, senators are still milling around on the floor. The Senate never officially adjourned.
Updated at 12:48 a.m.
Democratic senators are continuing to insist that the vote on Senate Bill 5 was completed after the special session ended at midnight, invalidating passage.
Republican senators are just as insistent that the vote was legitimate and that the bill is on its way to Gov. Rick Perry.
The vote began at 11:45 p.m. For the next 15 minutes — far longer, actually — spectators in the gallery overlooking the Senate floor unleashed a tremendous and sustained scream that drowned out every effort to establish order. With so many loud protesters outside the chambers, apparently there weren’t enough DPS troopers available, and spectators were escorted out very slowly.
With the initial vote stymied, senators were called up front to vote again shortly before midnight. While that vote was still underway, Sens. Royce West and Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, both Democrats, began holding up their cell phones to show that they read “12:00.”
Asked if the bill passed, Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, said: “I don’t think it was, but who would know?”
Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, predicted the vote was good.
“I’m informed that we began that vote prior to midnight,” Patrick said. “I believe as long as a vote starts before midnight, you can pass a bill.”
Efforts continue to locate a time-stamped copy of the vote.
Updated at 12:25 a.m.
Over the sustained and screaming protests from spectators in the gallery, the Texas Senate tried to vote on a divisive abortion bill with only minutes to spare in the special session after Republicans managed to break a nationally watched filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis.
The deafening screams drowned out the vote results and any appeal for order as troopers slowly emptied the gallery. Some had to be dragged away.
Even after midnight, it was not apparent whether a vote had been taken or if the bill had passed.
Republicans said it passed 17-12. Several Democrats said midnight had passed while the vote was still being taken.
Davis’ filibuster had passed the 10-hour mark, and the Fort Worth Democrat was still going strong, when Republicans were able to stop her from speaking with a ruling that she had violated the Senate’s filibuster rules for a third time. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s ruling shortly after 10 p.m. cleared the way for a simple majority of the Republican-led body to vote to halt a filibuster that had gained national attention, including recognition from President Barack Obama.
Dewhurst’s ruling prompted many in the spectators’ gallery erupted in anger, with shouts of “Shame!” giving way to sustained chants of “Let her speak!” All business in the Senate was halted for several minutes until order could be restored and a large group of spectators ordered to leave the gallery.
That was nothing compared to the ruling that cut off all debate, leading to a final vote on Senate Bill 5.
State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, had appealed the ruling, and upset Democratic senators rose to make a series of parliamentary inquiries, working to draw out the debate until the special session ended at midnight.
Republicans moved to cut off debate, with Sen. Robert Duncan, D-Lubbock, who was leading the Senate, declined to recognize several Democrats’ calls to be recognized to speak. Pandemonium followed.
Davis had launched her filibuster of Senate Bill 5 at 11:18 a.m. Wearing pink tennis shoes and a much-debated back brace, she needed to talk for 12 hours and 42 minutes to block a vote on the bill.
Updated at 10:10 p.m.
The point of order by Sen. Donna Campbell was ruled to be good shortly after 10 p.m., all but ending the filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis.
It was the third rules violation ruled against Davis. That allows the Senate to vote on whether to stop the filibuster by a simple majority in the Republican-dominated Senate.
The ruling was greeted by shouts of dismay from many in the orange-glad audience.
“Let her speak,” they loudly chanted for several minutes, bringing the Senate to a standstill until Department of Public Safety officers cleared many from the gallery.
Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, moved to appeal the ruling by Dewhurst.
Updated at 9:50 p.m.
As Sen. Wendy Davis’s filibuster has passed the 10-hour mark, Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, has made an objection, saying Davis has strayed from the subject of the abortion bill by talking about the pre-abortion sonogram requirement passed in the Legislature in 2011.
The motion is being debated out of earshot at the front desk.
Davis has operated for the last several hours under two rules violations, with one more needed before the GOP senators can stop her from speaking.
Davis has shown no sign of flagging. In fact, she has refused to take questions from three Republican senators, including Campbell. When Davis declined to engage, Campbell asked, “Even to a female and a physician?”
The crowd waiting to get in to the Senate gallery winds down from the Capitol’s third floor, to its second floor, down to the first floor and splits down two hallways in the first floor. The filibuster has also drawn national attention, including a tweet from President Barack Obama: ““Something special is happening in Austin tonight. #StandWithWendy.”
Updated at 7:19 p.m.: The Texas Senate has just voted to give Sen. Wendy Davis a second warning that her filibuster could soon end, because she put on a back-support brace with the assistance of another senator an hour ago.
The vote was 17-11, along party lines.
Davis needs to filibuster until midnight to stop a controversial and politically charged anti-abortion bill.
The next time a point of order is raised, the Senate will vote on whether to end the filibuster, said Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, who raised the objection to the back brace.
Updated at 6:40 p.m.: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has just stopped Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster over a question of whether she was allowed to put on a back-support brace an hour ago, with the help of another senator.
He said he plans to let the Senate vote on whether to allow the assistance. That probably means a vote along party lines, meaning Davis’ talking will be one warning from its end. Senators get two wa rnings before the Senate can vote to end the filibuster.
Davis is a Democrat in the GOP-controlled Senate.
Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, raised the parliamentary objection to the brace, which occurred as other senators were conferring with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on a previous parliamentary objection raised by Republicans.
Statesman.com has photos in its online gallery of Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, helping Davis put on the brace. GOP senators said they viewed the photos to confirm that Davis put on the brace.
A vote is upcoming.
Updated at 5:45 p.m.: Sen. Wendy Davis has received one warning to stay on topic in her filibuster.
If she receives two more warnings, it will require a vote of the Senate to determine whether to end the filibuster. Approval takes a simple majority.
Updated at 5:30 p.m.: Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, unsuccessfully tried twice to stop the filibuster by asserting that Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, had strayed from discussing SB 5. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst just warned Davis to stay on topic.
Under Senate rules, a filibustering senator can receive three warnings before she or he can be forced to stop talking.
Earlier: With tensions running high on both sides, state Sen. Wendy Davis continued a dramatic filibuster Tuesday afternoon designed to block passage of a controversial and politically charged anti-abortion bill.
Because the special legislative session will end at midnight, the Fort Worth Democrat could succeed if she continues talking on Senate Bill 5 — a move that would block a mandate by top state Republican leaders to pass the measure during the special legislative session.
At a time when the national Republican Party has made abortion a key issue, Tuesday’s filibuster quickly attracted a national following — through social media, streaming video from the Senate and in e-mails and press releases from advocates on both sides.
Leaders in the GOP-controlled Senate who want the bill to pass said at mid-afternoon they were considering invoking a little-used rule to end the filibuster with a vote, a move that other Republicans had earlier vowed not to use. They planned to let Davis talk the day out — as long as she stays within the rules for such speeches, with no leaning on her desk or no pausing or straying off the subject.
There was no immediate indication when the move might take place.
Davis said she intended to talk until midnight.
Davis’ filibuster could also kill two other important measures still pending: a transportation-funding resolution and a bill on the penalty for 17-year-olds who commit capital murder.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst chose not to bring up those measures before Senate Bill 5, even though Democrats had said publicly they would lend the support needed to pass them. A Dewhurst spokesman has not responded to a request for comment.
If the measures do not pass, Dewhurst earlier said he expects that Gov. Rick Perry will call the Legislature back into a second special session. That did little to dissuade the vocal opposition from Democrats and others, including protesters who have packed the Capitol at various times since the House debate occurred on Sunday.
Wearing pink Mizuno tennis shoes, Davis began the filibuster at 11:18 a.m., when Dewhurst interrupted the author of Senate Bill 5, the anti-abortion bill, as he was explaining its provisions and asking the Senate to accept a tougher House-passed version that some GOP leaders believe will close most abortion clinics in Texas.
Dewhurst asked Davis if she intended to filibuster, as she had announced on Monday. She said yes, and immediately began talking in opposition to the bill.
As Davis entered the chamber before the debate began, she was cheered by dozens of protesters wearing orange t-shirts who were standing-room-only in the gallery. Dewhurst quickly admonished them that outbursts could get them ejected by state troopers stationed around the perimeter of the gallery.
Davis began her speech by blasting Republican leaders at the statehouse for using the special session to advance a political agenda at the cost of women’s health. Not only did the Senate allow the bill to be debated without the two-thirds support that is traditionally required, she said, but political ambitions of some leaders have taken priority over the best interests of Texas.
She called it “a raw abuse of power.”
“The reality of this bill is not to make women safer … it’s to force the closure of facilities across the state of Texas that would provide proper care to women,” Davis said.
“Partisanship and ambition are not unusual in a state capitol … (but) right here, in Texas, right now, it has risen to a level of profound irresponsibility and the raw abuse of power. The actions intended by our state’s leaders hurt Texas; they hurt Texas women and their families.”
Tuesday’s filibuster was the second of Davis’ Senate career, and is likely to trigger increased speculation that Davis could be a future candidate for governor or other statewide office. She is currently running for reelection to her Senate seat.
Two years ago, in what was believed to be one of the shortest filibusters in Texas Senate history, Davis talked for just over an hour and 20 minutes to kill a school-finance bill she opposed.The bill passed anyway in a special session that began the next day.
The Texas filibuster record: 43 hours in 1977 by then-Sen. Bill Meier of Euless, who was trying to defeat a bill on workplace injury claims. The bill passed immediately after Meier sat down from his talk-a-thon.
Since the first Texas Legislature met in 1846, there have been more than 100 filibusters, according to state archives in the Legislative Reference Library.
For the first hour of Davis’ filibuster Tuesday, most senators — Republicans and Democrats — stayed in their seats listening to her remarks. They then began filtering out into the senators’ lounge to eat lunch, where several GOP senators said a strategy was being explored to stop Davis’ speech later today so SB 5 and the remaining bills can be passed.
In the seats ringing the Senate chamber floor sat an array of Texas House members: Democrats who unsuccessfully tried to stop passage of SB 5 on Sunday and Monday, and Republicans who strongly supported it. Both sides said they expect Perry will likely call lawmakers back into another special session if the bills die because of the filibuster.
Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, the chairman of Senate Democrats, said Davis, a mother of two and an outspoken advocate on women’s issues, led the filibuster because of her involvement in women’s health care.
“There’s an assault on women in this state and this legislation is a prime example of that,” Watson said. “It’s important that a woman who’s the mother of two daughters will be the one standing. We will all be there providing assistance and help.”
For supporters of SB 5, Tuesday’s filibuster was upsetting, even maddening. At mid-afternoon, conservative Republican lawmakers from Tarrant County were poised to deliver 84,610 blank pages of pink and light-blue paper to Davis’ office representing lives lost to abortions in 2011.
“It is my hope and prayer that Senator Davis would recognize all of the letters that will never be written due to the tragedy of abortion today,” said state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford.
Mary Hartwick, a Georgetown mother of two grown children and grandmother of six, echoed the sentiment: “This is not about politics. It is not about filibusters. It is about the death of unborn children. It has to stop.”
As Tuesday’s filibuster progressed, the gallery remained full — mostly with abortion rights supporters who oppose SB 5. Despite occasional outbursts and light applause as Davis read from letters from women who opposed SB 5, the crowd was mostly quiet.
At one point, at midafternoon, after spectators applauded and hissed, Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, had Dewhurst read a Senate rule that allows the Legislature to imprison for 48 hours anyone who disrupte the proceedings.
About 12:40 p.m., a demonstrator in the gallery began yelling about abortions being genocide. Mike Bradford of Austin was quickly ousted by troopers, but was not arrested.
“Abortions disproportionately affect African-Americans, and I see all these white women here opposing this (bill),” he told reporters outside the gallery. “They are killing innocent lives. Someone needs to say that. That’s why I am here.”