Sen. Kirk Watson, left, D-Austin, and Sen. Royce West, right, D-Dallas, vote against actions that would begin the debate early on legislation sent over by the house, Monday, June 24, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The Republican-dominated Texas Legislature pushed Monday to enact wide-ranging restrictions that would effectively shut down all abortion clinics in the nation's second most-populous state, and Democrats planned an old-fashioned marathon filibuster to stop the final vote.

AP/Eric Gay

AUSTIN — Texas Senate Democrats dug in Monday to block sweeping new restrictions on abortion, a move that threatened to also take down major transportation and juvenile justice bills with the final hours of the special legislative session ticking away.

Outnumbered 19-11 — with San Antonio Sen. Leticia Van de Putte missing to attend her father’s funeral — Senate Democrats held firm their razor-thin margin of a single vote to block the bill from moving forward Monday. And, they feel they can kill the abortion bill without a vote by staging a filibuster, essentially talking it to death before the session ends tonight at midnight.

Initially Perry called lawmakers into a 30-day special session to address political voting maps that have since been approved.

But the governor later expanded the agenda to include abortion, transportation funding and juvenile justice.

After disposing of the abortion bill, the House approved a constitutional amendment that would divert nearly $1 billion from the state’s cash reserve fund to spend on building and maintaining roads. State transportation leaders said Texas needs to spend $4 billion more per year to keep up with its rapidly expanding population.

That bill still needs a final vote from the Senate before it can go to voters statewide in November. But it was hung up by the abortion debate as all Senate votes were delayed.

Also stuck is a bill to have Texas more closely conform with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision banning mandatory sentences of life in prison without parole for offenders younger than 18. Current state law only allows a life sentence without parole for 17-year-olds convicted of capital murder.

Kirk Watson, D-Austin, said Democrats are willing to pass the transportation and 17-year-old sentencing measures but won’t budge on abortion.

“Let’s get those up; let’s get those out of here,” he said. “Let’s not make these victims of red-meat politics.”


(1) comment


If the GOP is really against abortions and not just anti women. Then pass a law that gives FREE hospital care for child birth to all women in Texas , Then the women would have a clear choice.. To help pay for it give free DNA test on single women's baby to see whom the daddy is then use the DNA test to force the daddy to help pay for the hospital birth cost. As now the GOP support Men screwing women twice , the 2nd time by denying they do not know the girl and then bad mouth her.

Fact ignored by GOP it is cheaper for young unemployed women to get a abortion than go though the expensive hospital birth .(And abortions will get cheaper as they pass the anti abortion law as drug addicts will preform a abortion for the price of a hit)

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