Update: Van De Putte Says Republicans Changed Time Stamp On SB 5 Voting Record
Update (6/28/13 10 a.m.) An article posted yesterday online by the Express-News talks about the series of events on Tuesday night and how the online change took place, comparing what happened at the capitol with a football game.
In football, the game is not over when the clock runs out if a play has been started -- it ends when the play is over, which is how it works in the Senate.
Since the vote began before midnight, the play had been started, regardless of whether or not the vote was completed by that time. Technically the bill passed, but it was what happened next that made all the difference.
The constitution requires the lieutenant governor to sign all legislation “in the presence of the Senate.” Because the crowd was shouting so loudly no one could hear, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and the senators left the chamber until order could be restored. Since it was after midnight, their departure ended all official action since the special session ended at midnight. They could not resume action to allow Dewhurst to sign the bill. The special session was over.
Update (6/28/13 9 a.m.): Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, the chairman of the Democratic Caucus said he’s made an open-records request for what occurred when the time stamp was changed on a recorded vote for Senate Bill 5.
"So we can see what was entered when it was entered and what changes might be made and why any of those changes might have been made so I can ask questions based upon the actual documents," said Watson.
He said he doesn't know where things go from here, but he does want to know why there was a change and at whose direction.
Original Post (6/26/13 4:47 p.m.): Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, D-San Antonio, said Republicans in the Senate, including the lieutenant governor, asked clerks to make a last-minute change when a vote was taken on SB 5, the senate's abortion bill.
View both versions of the Senate voting record below.
Van De Putte said the Texas Legislative Library first showed that the bill had passed on 6/26/13 with a time stamp of 12:03 a.m. About 15 minutes later the clerks were told that they needed to change it to the 25th.
Van De Putte said the public immediately picked up on the change and reported the documented vote was altered.
"My understanding is if you forge a government document or if you alter a government document, I think that might be a felony. That is a very serious, very serious thing," she said.
Van De Putte said if this set of abortion measures comes back in a second special session it will be pushed again by a same Republican majority who she hopes will respect the rules, the process and the people.