This Week in Texas: June 26, 2013

Posted June 26, 2013 in The Mignon Memo

The First Called Session of the 83rd Legislature concluded early this morning.  Shortly after 11:00 am yesterday, Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth) rose to talk against Senate Bill 5 relating to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers and facilities.  Her filibuster of the bill lasted throughout the day until various points of order were raised regarding whether she was following the rules for a filibuster by speaking only on subjects related to Senate Bill 5.  Although a vote was taken on the bill, it was later deemed void as it occurred after the midnight deadline for the special session.  Other bills that failed to pass included Senate Bill 23 relating to the punishment for a minor convicted of a capital felony and Senate Joint Resolution 2 relating to transportation funding. Bills relating to redistricting had already passed both chambers and are currently awaiting Governor Perry’s signature.  No word yet on whether Governor Perry will call another special session.

Every picture tells a story.  Here are some pictures from the last day of the First Called Session from the Texas Tribune:

Speaker Joe Straus issued a proclamation to expand the jurisdiction of the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations.  The committee now has the authority to monitor the conduct of individuals appointed to offices of the executive branch of state government, including university regents, to ensure that such officers are acting in the best interest of the agencies and institutions they govern. The committee was also given the authority to initiate and conduct impeachment proceedings as described in Chapter 665, Government Code, on behalf of the Texas House.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its long awaited opinion in Shelby Co. v. Holder, a case involving a challenge to the federal Voting Rights Act. After the ruling that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional and can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance, Texas Secretary of State John Steen announced that the state’s voter identification law would be implemented immediately.  Photo identification will now be required when voting in Texas elections.  The court’s decision will also have implications for the pending trials regarding the state’s redistricting.

Rep. Mark Strama (D-Austin) will leave his House District 50 seat early to work for Google Inc. on its Google Fiber operations in Austin.  Strama had previously announced he would not run for reelection.  A special election to fill the seat will be
called by Governor Perry.