AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday called a second special session of the Texas Legislature to pass widespread abortion restrictions, after the first attempt by Republicans died overnight following a marathon one-woman filibuster.
Perry ordered lawmakers to meet again on July 1 to act on the abortion proposals, as well as separate bills that would boost highway funding and deal with a juvenile justice issue. The sweeping abortion rules would close nearly all abortion clinics and impose other widespread restrictions on the procedure across the nation's second-largest state.
The measure passed the House, but died after Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis led a more than 12-hour filibuster effort. Hundreds of protesters then cheered, disrupting Senate proceedings as the session closed at midnight.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst hinted that another special session was coming when he denounced the protesters as an "unruly mob." Democrats who urged them on called the outburst democracy in action.
In either point of view, a raucous crowd of chanting, singing, shouting demonstrators effectively took over the Texas Capitol. The final outcome took several hours to sort out.
Perry can call as many 30-day extra sessions as he likes, but lawmakers can only take up those issues he assigns.