Texas Senate Filibuster Kills School Finance Bill Late Sunday Night [AUDIO]
Muted drama took over the Texas Senate Sunday night as a filibuster killed the bill that would finance Texas' public schools.
The filibuster was conducted by Senator Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth and it started at 10:45pm. Her filibuster included her reading off Texas public school districts, in alphabetical order, and noting the amount of funding they would lose over the next two fiscal years in the proposed bill. Senator Davis also stated that the Legislature should use money out of the state's Rainy Day Fund to make up the $4 billion that would be cut from Texas schools.
As it appeared Davis was close to ending her filibuster, Senator Royce West, D-Dallas, called for a parliamentary inquiry noting the start of a new Calendar Day in the Texas Senate (4:05 mark of the audio linked below). Lt. Governor David Dewhurst (R) noted that the day had changed at 12:03am and then Senator John Whitmire, D-Houston, called for a Point of Order (4:52 mark of the audio linked below). Senator Whitmire's Point of Order was, "that you cannot consider legislation during the last 24 hours... of the session". Lt. Governor Dewhurst sustained the Point of Order and applause broke out in the gallery.
The filibuster prevented the senate from a taking a vote on the bill before the midnight deadline. Meanwhile, the Texas House passed their school finance bill Sunday night.
The proposed bill would have cut $4 billion from Texas schools.
Governor Rick Perry has warned lawmakers he would call them back if they didn't get their work done. His spokesman Mark Miner said a special session could begin as early as Tuesday.
Lawmakers could avoid a special session by having four-fifths of each chamber band together to suspend all the rules. But that would require a large number of Democrats to vote for Republican priorities. Democrats say that is highly unlikely. The 82nd Texas Legislative Session ends Monday night at midnight.
KFYO's Robert Pratt will have a special show later today at 5pm completely focusing on the Legislative Session.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report