Texas Democrats on Wednesday announced their intentions to launch a filibuster in order to delay a final vote on Senate Bill 1 in a renewed effort to combat the Republican voting bill that prompted Texas House Democrats to flee the state for Washington, D.C in order to prevent a quorum.
State Sen. Carol Alvarado took the floor on the fifth day of the 30-day special session. According to state house filibuster rules, the Texas Democrat is required to stand on the Senate floor, without leaning on her desk or chair. She will be unable to eat, drink, or use the restroom, and unlike in the US Senate, she must speak continuously without straying off topic.
“Senate Bill 1 slowly but surely chips away at our democracy. It adds rather than removes barriers for Texas seniors, persons with disabilities, African Americans, Asian and Latino voters from the political process,” Alvarado said at the onset of her effort. “[President Lyndon B. Johnson] said the Voting Rights Act struck away the last major shackle of the fierce and ancient bond of slavery. Senate Bill 1 is a regressive step back in the direction of that dark and painful history.”
Describing the action as an effort to “to put the brakes on” the bill and “call attention to what is at stake,” Alvarado has recognized that the filibuster is a largely symbolic gesture. Her decision has garnered significant support from prominent Democrats.
“We applaud Senator Alvarado as she enters the sixth hour of her filibuster this evening. Her commitment to a continued fight against anti-voter legislation is an inspiration to Texans across the state,” said Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa in a statement. “We’re beyond proud of our Senate Democrats for using every possible tool to stall this legislation for as long as possible.”