The Brief: Top Texas News for June 28, 2013

Gov. Rick Perry addresses the National Right to Life convention on June 27, 2013.
Gov. Rick Perry addresses the National Right to Life convention on June 27, 2013.

The Big Conversation

Attention lingered on Sen. Wendy Davis as Gov. Rick Perry jumped into the post-filibuster debate on Thursday.

Speaking at a National Right to Life convention in Dallas, Perry lashed out at Davis, whose 11-hour filibuster on Tuesday helped kill controversial abortion legislation and shot her to national stardom.

"Even the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances. The daughter of a single mother, she was a teenage mother herself," Perry said. "She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas Senate."

"It’s just unfortunate," he added, "that she hasn’t learned from her own example: that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters."

In a statement, Davis said Perry's remark "tarnishes the high office he holds."

"They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view," she said. "Our governor should reflect our Texas values. Sadly, Gov. Perry fails that test."

The exchange stoked the media storm that has descended on Texas since Davis' filibuster on Tuesday, which gave rise to one of the most dramatic displays of political theater in recent Texas history.

In his speech, Perry, who on Wednesday called another special session to take up the failed bill, encouraged abortion opponents to prepare for protests of their own.

"Going forward, we have to match their intensity, but do it with grace and civility and dignity that our cause deserves," Perry said. "And just remember this: The louder they scream, the more we know we’re are getting something done."

The second special session begins Monday.

Culled

•    U.S. Senate Passes Immigration Reform Bill (The Texas Tribune): "The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed its version of the comprehensive immigration reform bill that would pave the way for citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants in the country. The 68-32 vote occurred after the body stopped debate and invoked cloture on the sweeping overhaul bill, S 744, by the bipartisan group of senators called the 'Gang of Eight.'"

•    After a Senate Filibuster, All Over but the Shouting (TT): "Minutes before midnight at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday, thousands of protesters stopped a restrictive abortion bill in its tracks by yelling at the top of their lungs. The remarkable moment had not been planned by the established groups like Planned Parenthood, Naral Pro-Choice Texas and the Texas Democratic Party that had organized protests against the Senate vote on the measure. Instead, it grew with the help of a smaller coalition — including local chapters of the Occupy movement and the International Socialist Organization, or I.S.O. — that helped goad the crowd to a level of civil disobedience not seen in the Texas Capitol in decades."

•    Coming Out Swinging, Dan Patrick Announces for Lieutenant Governor (TT): "Citing the need for 'authentic conservative leadership' in Texas, state Sen. Dan Patrick announced on Thursday that he would run for lieutenant governor against incumbent David Dewhurst. 'Today begins roughly 18 months of hard work,' said Patrick, a Houston Republican who was joined by his wife at the news conference. 'I think the people in Texas sense that it is a time for change. 2014 is going to be a change election.'"

•    Agency: Time-stamp change on abortion bill was a routine correction (Austin American-Statesman): "Legislative officials Thursday said the time stamp on a controversial abortion bill was changed after a chaotic Senate session to reflect when the vote was actually taken, after an initial recording error. … In a statement, officials with the Legislative Reference Library — the office in charge of the online listings — said the change was nothing more than correcting an error. It said TLO listings are always preliminary until they are made official after Senate and House records are verified."

•    West fertilizer blast could have been prevented, experts tell U.S. Senate panel (The Dallas Morning News): "Even without new regulations, April’s deadly fertilizer blast in Texas could have been averted, chemical safety experts told a Senate committee Thursday. … 11 years have passed since the federal agency that investigates industrial accidents urged the Environmental Protection Agency to add ammonium nitrate — the substance that detonated in West — to a list of hazards requiring a local emergency plan. Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, called adoption of that 'critical safeguard' long overdue."

Quote of the Day: "It was pretty clear to the world who was watching that it happened because of a lack of leadership. We allowed someone to stand on the floor for 12 hours and give one side of the story." — State Sen. Dan Patrick, who on Thursday announced his bid for lieutenant governor, on Wendy Davis' filibuster

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