Special Session Entering Final WeekendFeatured Stories, News Friday, June 21st, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ A Texas House committee has approved new restrictions on abortions in the state, after cutting short an 11-hour hearing and denying hundreds of people the opportunity to testify against them.
House Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook held a perfunctory meeting Friday to approve all of the measures, with Republicans voting for the measures and Democrats opposing. The vote came after hundreds of abortion rights supporters packed a hearing Thursday until 3:30 a.m. Friday morning.
Opponents hoped to stall the measures, but Cook cut off public testimony saying it was becoming repetitive. Houston Democrat Jessica Farrar said in 20 years she’d never seen a chairman cut short testimony.
The proposed laws would limit what clinics and doctors can perform abortions, and ban them after 20 weeks instead of 24.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Texas lawmakers have taken a major step toward accomplishing the main goal of the special legislative session by adopting new voting maps. But that doesn’t mean the matter will be resolved soon.
The Texas House gave final passage Friday to three bills containing the maps for the Texas House, Senate and congressional districts.
The Senate and congressional maps passed without change, and are on their way to the Governor Rick Perry to sign. The Senate will likely approve minor changes to the Texas House maps on Sunday.
Perry called the special session to adopt the maps used in 2012. A federal court drew them after determining the Legislature’s original maps discriminated against minorities.
Minority groups say the those maps don’t reverse the discrimination, and their lawsuit is expected to continue.
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