UPDATE VIII: Anyone still hanging in, this from Texas Tribune:

It’s still unclear the exact time that the Senate voted and approved Senate Bill 5 “” and whether that vote is valid. …

‘We didn’t even know we were voting,’ said (Democratic Senator Juan)Hinojosa, adding that the Republican senators knew they were voting, but he and other Democrats were off the side holding up their cell phones at the time to show the press that it was past midnight.’

UPDATE VII: From a GetEqual twee: “We all saw the live feed and the vote was clearly after midnight. We witnessed World’s Dumbest Criminals in action. #txlege”

UPDATE VII: Apparently Republican senators say “yes we did vote and it was legal,” but there’s been no announcement in the chamber about that. Senators are milling around. Reports of thousands in the halls and outside, with arrests being made. Whatever else, the Republicans were outplayed and out-classed today by Davis, and then by her Democratic colleagues.

UPDATE VI: The cheering finally stopped, past midnight. And guess what? Apparently the Senate doesn’t know if they passed SB 5 or not. There was some kind of vote, but they don’t seem to know if it happened before or after midnight. Still waiting. And, there are reports that a firebomb, or bombs, were thrown at Sen. Davis’ office in Ft. Worth. Arrests made.

UPDATE V: Paraphrasing, and apologies for missing the name of the female senator who posed the question, after the chair did not recognize her earlier, asks what a female senator has to do to be recognized as the male senators are. Crowd still cheering, as the clock ticks down to under 4 minutes. Want to bet they’ll still get the vote in, maybe by extending the time beyond midnight, because of the cheering crowd?

UPDATE IV: Okay, the Republicans are going for it, with the ruling, now being challenged, that the “third strike” has occurred, so the filibuster is ended.

UPDATE III: Texas Tribune reports that “hundreds” of activist (both those supporting and opposing Senate Bill 5, but more opposing) have come to the Capitol to “watch Sen. Wendy Davis in her final push to try to filibuster Senate Bill 5.” Just under 2 hours to go, and at this moment, there’s another conference in front about some procedural challenge. The Senate Republicans could still end this with time to vote. Davis remains amazingly strong.

UPDATE II: Via the Tribune link in the original post, a tweet from Barack Obama: “Something special is happening in Austin tonight. … #StandWithWendy” Under three hours to go.

UPDATE: The efforts to end the filibuster by Republicans are strong. Basically, they’re accusing her of talking about subjects not relevant to the bill. If so ruled, there’s a “three strikes and you’re out,” ending the filibuster. This from the Tribune link: (emphasis added)

Davis received her second warning when the Senate voted 17 to 11 to sustain a point of order called by state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands on Davis for receiving assistance to put on a back brace.

“A filibuster is an endurance contest and it’s to be made unaided and unassisted,” Williams said in defense of the point of order.

Original Post is below.

The filibuster by Texas State Senator Wendy Davis continues. You can read a live blog at the Texas Tribute, or follow the debate through a live-streaming here.

From The Texas Tribune, the filibuster is about the

… controversial legislation that would dramatically restrict access to abortions. Abortion opponents argue the measure would improve women’s safety, while reproductive rights advocates argue it would effectively cut off legal access to abortion in the state and endanger women’s health.

Taylor wrote earlier today about today’s filibuster here, and I have a post about the related “People’s Filibuster” about the anti-abortion bills in the Texas House here.

Sen. Davis has primarily read from statements submitted from Texas women who oppose Senate Bill 5 (and related bills, in Senate and House).

From the Tribune:

By reading the stories and testimony of women that came to the Capitol to oppose Senate Bill 5, Davis is acting as the “˜voice of those people that basically were cut off,’ said Rick Svatora, her communications director.

When a House committee considered the measures in SB 5 and HB 60, the chairman ended testimony near 4 a.m. with more than a hundred of reproductive rights still registered to testify.

State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie sent an email to constituents asking for them to send more stories
for Davis to read during the filibuster.

“˜Once she starts, Senator Davis cannot stop until the clock strikes midnight,’ Turner said in the email.

There have been a few interruptions by way of questions posed to Sen. Davis, and statements made in support of the bill. including by State Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, the author of the portion of Senate Bill 5. For example, at one point, when Deuell stood to ask questions:

Davis made clear that she would not yield the floor “” which would give Deuell an opportunity to end her filibuster “” but she agreed to answer questions.

Various efforts have been made by Republican senators to stop the filibuster. Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, for examples, said

… he submitted a “˜green sheet’ to Senate leadership this morning officially requesting a procedure known as “˜calling the previous question’ that could potentially cut off the filibuster. The rules require that five other Senators sign on to end the debate, which Patrick said he has.

Pointing to a 1957 precedent, Rick Svatora, a spokesman for Davis, said that calling the question would not end the filibuster, but it would end debate among other senators if Davis yielded the floor.

Outside the Senate Chambers, other actions are being taken by Republicans. For example:

… several Republican members of the House from Tarrant County said they intended to deliver 84,601 blank sheets of paper to Davis’ office. Each sheet, they said, symbolizes an abortion they said took place in Texas in 2011.

And perhaps in an indication that Republican legislators think Sen. Davis will be successful in her filibuster:

Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, said that though House Republicans want the bill to pass today, it is their “˜hope and prayer’ that Gov. Rick Perry will call a second special session if SB 5 fails to pass by midnight.

(Sen. Wendy Davis, Texas Via Sen. Davis)