Texas: Execution, voter ID, abortion mark big week

By Kristen Butler, UPI.com  |  June 27, 2013 at 9:09 AM
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Texas has been a hotbed of political activity in recent days, and it won't be letting up now that Governor Rick Perry has called another special legislative session.

On the morning of the state's 500th execution, Perry called the special session to pass SB5, the sweeping abortion bill halted by a marathon filibuster Tuesday from state Sen. Wendy Davis, by saying "In Texas, we value all life."

The governor's choice of phrase was seized upon by the media, which was simultaneously reporting the execution of convicted murderer Kimberly McCarthy, who Wednesday became the 500th person executed in Texas since 1982.

In the wake of a landmark Supreme Court decision on voting rights this week, the Texas attorney general said the state would revive its controversial law voter ID law immediately. The court’s 5-4 ruling invalidated a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that forced nine states, including Texas, to gain approval from the federal government before changing voting laws and election procedures.

That part of the Voting Rights Act saved Sen. Wendy Davis' Fort Worth district from having its minority population split between two districts last cycle.

Davis gained national attention with her filibuster of the omnibus abortion bill that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks and require clinics to fit the standard of outpatient surgical centers -- a regulation that would shutter all but five of the state's clinics.

A vote in the chaotic final minutes, after Davis was stopped on her third point of order for going off-topic, was found to have been made two minutes past the special session's midnight deadline.

Democrats are unlikely to defeat the bill this time, but national attention on the issue will bring another round of resistance from Davis, possibly setting her up for a run at statewide office.

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