State Senator Carol Alvarado gave all Democrats who believe in the right to vote a shot of much needed ánimo when she stood up and spoke against Greg Abbott’s voter suppression bill.
Unable to take bathroom breaks or drink water, she had worn a back brace, eyeglasses and running shoes and talked slowly behind a desk stacked with papers and with a microphone in her hand as she mounted a 15-hour filibuster. The target of her efforts was Senate Bill 1, the GOP’s priority bill that would place new restrictions on voting that many opponents say would disproportionately suppress ballots from voters of color and disabled voters.
With 20+ days left in this second forced special hate session put on by Greg Abbott, the intent was not to kill the bill, but to increase public awareness about voter suppression. While Texas House members continue to boycott these special sessions for the purpose of stopping for the third time Abbott’s long list of bigoted bills, it was good to see the Senator do something equally bold.
The only thing that is left to happen is for the Democratic majority in the US Congress to stop pretending bipartisanship exists and push through a federal voting rights bill that supercedes state governments who are intent on violating Americans’ voting rights in various states. But thanks to right-wing Democrats, much of the Biden agenda is in peril.
Texas Lege Democrats have delivered their point to Greg Abbott, Republicans, to Democrats in DC, and to the general public. It is time for Biden and the Democratic majority in DC to deliver a just result.
Meanwhile, the Texas House now has civil arrest warrants out for the Texas House Democrats and have deputized the DPS to arrest them and take them back to Austin. Does give one a mental picture of Headly Lamarr swearing-in his “deputies” in Blazing Saddles.
I’m sure there is a lot of excitement, now that Rick Perry has announced he is done as Governor at the end of what seems like another endless term. But the fight in Austin against Rick Perry’s attack on women is not over; in fact, the Stand With TX Women Bus Tour is happening and is coming to Houston on Tuesday, July 9, at 6PM at Discovery Green.
I hear there will be many great speakers, including Texas Senator Wendy Davis. Of course, I’m hoping my favorite State Senator, Sylvia Garcia, will also be there. If you haven’t read her latest op-ed on Rick Perry’s War on Women, you need to catch up. Here’s a snippet from the Chronicle:
The Republican leadership has made it clear it does not support access to safe reproductive services, access to health care or even equal pay for women. But, at the very least, they could respect the female senators fighting for constituents.
It became obvious on June 25 that the Republicans would not allow Sen. Davis to complete her filibuster. They dishonored the traditions of the Senate as frivolous points of order were sustained against Sen. Davis for the whole world to see. This culminated in Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, rightfully asking, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”
The war on women had been declared and hundreds of Texas citizens in the Senate gallery that night rose in support of their constitutional rights, thus killing the abortion bill.
I plan on being there, so, I hope to see you all at Discovery Green on Tuesday!
RALLY SPEAKER UPDATE: Planned Parenthood confirms that Cecile Richards will be among the speakers.
The Speakers Line-Up:
* Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund
* Melaney Linton, president of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast
* Sen. Wendy Davis
* Sen. Kirk Watson
* Sen. Sylvia R. Garcia
* Sen. Jose Rodriguez
* Sen. Rodney Ellis
* Rep. Jessica Farrar
* Jonee Longoria, single mom who relied on Planned Parenthood for basic health care
* Dr. Damla Dryden, Ob-Gyn
* Januari Leo, Activist and former Planned Parenthood patient
Senator Sylvia Garcia Speaks to Meet Up Crowd.
After over 5,000 rallied in support of women’s rights in Austin yesterday, a couple to few hundred more gathered at Houston’s Hughes Hanger on Washington to continue the day’s activities and stay focused on the cause.
Along with getting to see some of my favorite Democratic and pro-choice friends, it seemed every corner of the place was filled with discussion centered on what was next–with the bills, with 2014, and the future. And I also got lucky and heard a first-hand account of the Austin rally from an activist who made both events. No doubt, there was a lot of energy in the crowd.
State Senator Sylvia Garcia headlined, along with Planned Parenthood CEO Melaney Linton. Garcia reminded us that while the fight is currently in Austin, that it will not stop there. Whether it goes to the courts or, ultimately, to the ballot box, it must continue.
That said, thanks to the Senator and the Harris Democrats for sponsoring and organizing a bus to today’s House State Affairs Committee hearing in Austin. If you’re in Austin, do attend. It begins at 3:30pm.
Sidenote: And while I did see a good contingent of Latinas at the event, I was disappointed that more Latinos didn’t show. No tengan miedo! Also, it was great to see Mayor Annise Parker showing her support, as well as At-Large 3 candidates Jenifer Rene Pool and Rogene Gee Calvert.
According to State Senator Jose Rodriguez (D) El Paso, Senate Bill 1, the companion bill to House Bill 2, has now been filed as the omnibus anti-choice bill by Hegar and co-authored by Estes and Williams for the 2nd Special Session.
S.B. 1 would ban abortions after 20 weeks, which is contrary to past rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, and therefore, likely unconstitutional. In addition, the bill requires health clinics that perform abortions to be certified as ambulatory surgery centers. Doctors’ groups and others have deemed these additional building requirements medically unnecessary and extremely costly to implement; it would force closure of all but five of the 42 clinics that perform abortions in Texas, including the two clinics in El Paso.
Other provisions of S.B. 1 substitute political judgment for evidence-based, best medical practices regarding the use of a pill for a medical abortion and place other unnecessary restrictions on doctors and intrude on the doctor-patient relationship. In essence, if passed, S.B. 1 would make it extraordinarily difficult for a woman to have access to a legal, safe abortion in this state.
The arguments for and against will be similar; the difference is the time available for the right-wing to pass it. According to Rodriguez:
At the end of the last special session, the leadership chose to prioritize their narrow ideological agenda rather than pass transportation and criminal justice legislation that had overwhelming bipartisan support. The record clearly shows that Senate leadership sacrificed Senate traditions and twisted the rules — including a possible attempt to alter a government document — to pass a bill that ultimately endangers women’s health.
Now, they want a “do over.” But, the fact remains that this legislation is still as bad for women as it was last week. Along with the thousands of Texans who have made their voices heard, we will continue to do everything we can to fight this assault on Texas women.
So, here we go.
If one hasn’t noticed themake-up of the Senate Bill 1 (the budget) conference committee, one should take a look-see. One will find that on the Texas House side, there are no Latinos. State Rep. Sylvester Turner, I’m sure, serves folks well, but Latinos are not even represented on the committee. On the Senate side, at the very least there is one Latino (Hinojosa) and one whose district has a good chunk of Latino population (Whitmire). Why is the Texas House different?
Before anyone responds with, “what about this group?” or “that group?” let’s get real. Mexican Americans and Latinos are the fasting growing demographic; if anything, it was more than evident in the last Census. Republicans proved it by redrawing Congressional and other district boundaries with the intent of decreasing the power of the Latino vote in one way or another.
Obviously, as far as Republicans are concerned, Latinos are on their radar, but the results of their actions have tended to be negative, rather than supportive.
Here are some facts:
- Hispanics accounted for 65% of Texas’ population growth.
- Non-Hispanic Whites account for 45% of the population.
- As Education is a major portion of the budget, half of Texas’ K-12 students are Hispanic.
I can go on with the demographics, obviously. And I can also give an entire listing of how billions cut from K-12 and higher education, or cuts to health care, in 2011 have affected Latinos. And if it affected Latinos, one knows it affected everyone else, too.
I guess all I’m asking for is a little fairness and representation on a conference committee that is supposed to decide on a budget that affects a huge chunk of Texans. A huge chunk that has obviously impacted politics and policy in Texas.
If you want me to suggest names, I can give you some, too, but chances are they will be members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.