Democratic Texas state senator Wendy Davis blew up Twitter as she attempted an all-day filibuster to stop a bill that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks and effectively shut down most abortion clinics in the state, aiming to run out the clock of the legislative session at midnight. But Texas Republicans successfully challenged Davis's filibuster—claiming she strayed from the topic—and attempted an eleventh-hour vote anyway. Or, as Democrats saw it, a thirteenth hour vote that wasn't legal.
With minutes left before the session closed at midnight, the gallery erupted in cheers to try drowning out a roll call and thwart the vote. (Without a doubt, it was the most exciting impromptu direct action I've ever seen/heard/teared up watching.) But whether protesters succeeded is still in dispute. For their part, the AP claims the bill passed:
Texas Republicans have passed new abortion restrictions expected to close almost every abortion clinic in the nation's second most populous state.
The Republican-controlled House voted for the bill while hundreds of protesters screamed from the gallery. Reporters and Democrats saw the voting begin after midnight, but Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said it began just before.
Everyone watching—and tweeting—seemed to see the vote happen after midnight, after the session had ended. The AP's Chris Tomlinson nods to a constitutional challenge being settled by an official computer. Meanwhile, Mike Ward, a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, says the senate still remains in session while troopers take charge of the protesters:
Gallery cleared by troopers. Senate plans to reconvene in a while. West plans to question validity of SB5. Senate has not adjourned. #txlege
— Statesmanmike (@mikestatesman) June 26, 2013
UPDATE at 11:15 PM: As folks in comments—and the Twitteverse—point out, the Texas legislature's website time record was changed. First it showed a vote after midnight, and then, presto, it showed the vote occurred before midnight. After the jump, video of when the cheering began.
The gallery erupted (and didn't stop screaming) after a female senator who was apparently being ignored by the men in the senate took the floor seeking parliamentary order. She asked, "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues in the room?" Then everyone went nuts: