P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2013
AUSTIN — The 1st Called Session of the 83rd Texas Legislature came to a dramatic end last night, as protesters brought official business to a halt and time ran out on legislation to fund transportation, reform capital punishment for minors, protect human life and protect the health of women seeking abortions.
"Our public policies are supposed to reflect the will of the people — not the chants, screams and profanities of protesters whose views are out of step with a majority of Texans and whose behavior violated the rules of the Senate. Last night the people of Texas had their will overruled by a mob, and this is truly a sad moment for democracy and decorum," said State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound. "I love the Texas Senate. I respect the rights of individuals to make their voice heard. However, what took place last night flies in the face of our democratic process, and I worry about the lasting damage it will have on our traditions and our ability to conduct courteous debate."
During the 30-day special session, which began on May 27 mere hours after the end of the regular session, the Legislature approved three bills creating new legislative maps for the Senate, House and Texas' congressional delegation. Those bills are now on the governor's desk.
The three bills under consideration by the Senate as time expired — SB 5, protecting unborn children and the health of women seeking abortions; SJR 2, creating a dedicated funding source for transportation; and SB 23, bringing Texas into compliance with a Supreme Court ruling involving capital punishment for minors who have committed murder — had passed both the Senate and the House. However, the Senate was prevented from concurring with House amendments because of a filibuster that was halted because of rule violations. Further delay tactics followed. Then, for more than 15 minutes as time was expiring, official business was stopped by screams and chants from activists opposed to SB 5 who had organized in protest in the Senate gallery.