Saturday, July 13, 2013

Texas Abortion Reform Passed; Hu Flung Poo?

In late night floor action, the Texas Senate passed the controversial HB 2 Abortion Regulation Reform bill.

Friday July 12, 2013 was a day of major accomplishment for the 83rd Legislature's Second Special session. The Senate concluded its voting on HB 2 after numerous attempts to amend the bill 20 times. During the House debate, 27 amendments were proposed. The Senate also signed and forwarded SB 2, the bill that removes the death penalty and allows parole for minors found guilty of capital crimes.

Both HB 2 and SB 2 are headed towards Governor Rick Perry's desk for signature. Governor Perry is ready and waiting to review both bills and sign them. The governor exercised his executive authority to recall the Texas 83rd Legislature to a limited special session. The executive order directed the legislature to consider three issues: sentencing of minors guilty of capital crimes, abortion regulation reform, and funding highway and roadway projects. Only one of the three issues of consideration remains incomplete.

Read the full text of the abortion regulation reform bill, HB 2, as passed by the Senate. The enrolled version sent to Governor Perry was not yet available at the writing of this article. 

Read the final enrolled version of SB 2, regarding the sentencing of minors found guilty of capital crimes, as sent to Governor Perry for signature. 

Legislation on highway funding remains complicated. It may involve amending the state constitution in order to allow certain revenues to be shifted towards that purpose. The Texas Senate passed SJR 1 on Thurs. July 11, 2013. The resolution to amend the Texas Constitution is in committee in the House. The House is set to debate and vote its own bills regarding this issue on Monday, July 15, 2013.

Read the full text of the engrossed version of SJR1 as passed by the Senate and received by the House. 

HB 16 concerns the allocation of fuel-tax revenues to the state highway fund. Read the full bill to be considered by the House on the 15th.

HJR 2 proposes amendments to the Texas Constitution to allocate certain tax revenues toward specific areas, such as fuel-taxes to highway funds. Read the full text of the resolution to be read on the house floor on July 15th.

The Circus and the Sideshow

Political junkies and abortion-issue activists on both sides watched the debate and voting as though it were a bare-knickled MMA fight between Chuck Norris and Rorion Gracie. The Senate Floor action was streamed live online with viewers across the nation tuning in. Political analyst and talk show host Erick Erickson of Red State posted  updates and commentary on Twitter. Talk-show host Dana Loesch joined in the Twitter commentary.

Activists and political bloggers from North Carolina also paid close attention to the action. North Carolina is embroiled with similar legislative battles concerning regulating abortions after 20 weeks of gestation and other medical regulations to better protect women's health.

The controversial bill passed during the first special session despite a filibuster attempt by Wendy Davis. The filibuster failed. However mobs of activists among the spectators prevented the bill to be processed and recorded before the deadline ending the first special session.

Once the second special session was called, activists descended upon the Capitol Building in Austin, TX. Both sides exchanged colorful protests including renditions of "Amazing Grace" and chants of "Hail Satan". The pickets and protests from both sides of the issue continued through the floor votes on July 12th.

Reports from the Texas Department of Public Safety indicated that pro-choice activists were caught attempting to smuggle in jars of human urine and feces as well as used feminine hygiene products. Officers speculate that these items were intended to be used as biological weapons against pro-life activists or legislators who voted in favor of the bill. KETK in Austin, TX reported the DPS statement concerning the confiscated contraband.