Wait, how did Texas Republicans pause Wendy Davis’ filibuster?

June 25, 2013

Texas Democratic Senator Wendy Davis' nine-hour filibuster may be coming to a quick end -- and not due to the senator's lack of effort.

Lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst ruled that Davis has three times violated the Texas Senate's procedural rules for a filibuster, which requires a senator to stand continually without assistance and remain on topic.

"There’s a three strikes, you’re out precedent in the Senate that allows senators two warnings about staying germane to the bill topic," Texas Tribune reporter Becca Aaronson explains. "On the third strike, a simple majority of the Senate can vote to end debate and the senator must yield the floor."

The first strike came when Davis mentioned Planned Parenthood's budget, which was ruled not germane to the conversation. The second strike happened at 7:27 p.m. when a colleague of Davis' helped her adjust a back brace, which you can watch here:

The last strike came at 10:07 p.m. when Davis began discussing a 2011 sonogram law that Texas passed, according to Aaronson.

This is all a bit in flux: One of Davis' democratic colleagues has moved to challenge Dewhurst's ruling. Davis' filibuster appears to be down, but its not quite out.

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Sarah Kliff | June 25, 2013