Early this morning, after a 13-hour filibuster yesterday led by Texas state Senator Wendy Davis, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst finally officially ruled that Senate Bill 5 – the devastating anti-abortion bill that would decimate women’s access to reproductive healthcare — had not come to a legal vote before midnight and was therefore dead. Shortly before midnight, Davis’ filibuster was sustained and a few others had to step in to help stall a vote until the clock ran out, asking a number of parliamentary inquiries. Then, Republicans legislators attempted to push for a vote, but the pro-choice activists — Texas’s “feminist army” as they’ve come to be known — who filled the gallery drowned them out with chants and cheers, making it impossible for the vote to be completed before the clock struck midnight. (Meanwhile, as history was being made live, not a single major news network was broadcasting it.)
But that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t some, ahem, confusion. Shortly after midnight, the Texas state legislature’s website reflected that a vote had occurred, but on June 26 — that’s today, not yesterday, proving the vote would have been invalid. But suddenly the page was changed to say that the vote happened on June 25, seemingly an attempt to change the official record of the vote. Too bad 180,000 people were watching on the livestream and reporters, activists and Democratic politicians on the floor saw was really happened. And so, shortly after 3 a.m., Lt. Gov. Dewhurst begrudgingly announced that the official vote took place at 12:03 a.m. and was therefore invalid. Senate Bill 5 had not passed.
A hard won victory. We remain simply in awe of what we watched last night.