AUSTIN, Texas — State troopers lined the halls of the Texas Capitol, and 5,000 protesters rallied outside against proposed abortion legislation, as lawmakers convened Monday for a second special session that Republican leaders pledged wouldn't descend into chaos like the first.
The Texas House and Senate each met for less than an hour before recessing for the week. That was just long enough to schedule committee hearings for the proposed restrictions that would make Texas one of the toughest places in the nation for women to get abortions.
Less than one week earlier, Democrats scored a rare victory in the GOP-dominated Legislature by running out the clock on the first special session.
Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth was on her feet for more than 12 hours — speaking most of that time — during the Democratic filibuster. When Republicans used parliamentary technicalities to silence her, hundreds of protesters in the public gallery and surrounding Capitol corridors cheered so loudly that work on the bill couldn't be completed before the midnight deadline.
Although there will be no action on either floor during the Fourth of July week, committees were set to hold public hearings to consider the measure. The soonest the bill could pass the full Legislature is July 10, unless the Republican majorities suspend the rules to move it sooner. Gov. Rick Perry could sign the bill into law almost immediately.