The Texas Senate is Back in Session

maternal health abortion bilAnd I Am Prepared to Stay Up All Night to Watch the Shenanigans

The Texas Senate reconvened at 2 p.m. today, and have been debating since then about HB2, the anti-abortion bill that received national attention for Sen. Wendy Davis' filibuster a couple of weeks ago. It's been two-and-a-half hours since I started "watching" (I'm more listening and getting other things done), and the Senate has just finished going through 20 amendments to the bill (all of which have been tabled, although some of them were very good and sensible amendments). Nothing is happening right now, but a vote is expected to happen today, and this session is predicted to end "late in the evening". It's possible debate could continue into Saturday, but it's unlikely that any filibustering or parliamentary maneuver could stop it this time.

I Think This Stuff is Quite Fascinating

It really is, and it's also very productive too. It's neat to hear all the different sides of the issue, all the little points you need to think about when putting together and passing a bill, and all that happens when our representatives convene in session to get something done. I just finished Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government (great book, and another book off of my summer reading list), and the closing argument in that book is that it will be up to local governments to collaborate amongst each other to improve transparency and to utilize data and technology to make government better and to make it engaging. It's events like this that bridge this gap and make government engaging. It'll be the local issues, state governments, and city governments that are going to be the ones to take the town square digital and to reinvent government.

I wouldn't say entertaining. There's a lot about this that isn't entertaining, but I'm not here to be entertained, even on a Friday night. Even though this bill and this issue is only about Texas right now, it's very likely it will go beyond Texas. It's projected that abortion-rights groups will file a federal lawsuit as soon as Perry signs the bill into law. I'm interested in seeing how this issue will progress as it moves to the national level, as well as how the technology and the activism will remain as well. So many previous cases and issues have moved from the city and all the way to the Supreme Court, but if this lawsuit and this issue does get to that level, I'm interested to see how social media and technology play a part in relaying what's happening.

What Can We Do About Women's Health and Women's Rights?

Although the big issue here is abortion, I can't help but think about what else needs to be address when it comes to women's health and women's rights. There are many other issues, such as maternal health, domestic violence, economic empowerment, and equal pay, that matter as well and still need to be addressed (I came across this article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from April. Pretty good stuff. I like the points on women with chronic conditions, because I don't think this has been studied or tracked all that much. I also like that St. Louis is being proactive about this.). What to do? What to pick? How do you address it?

This whole thing is actually tiring. My guess it will end in two hours, probably more, but my guess is that it will end at 1 a.m. my time. But, I am learning stuff and feeling productive and I still think this whole thing is pretty awesome. It's also pretty awesome that they've been at it this whole time and they didn't even take a much of the break.