“Moments ago I submitted my intention to filibuster the voter suppression bill otherwise known as SB 1,” said Alvarado. “I rise today not for approval or glory. In the end we may not be able to stop this bill at all. But I rise to speak against the bill because it is the right thing to do for my constituents.”
Alvarado has reportedly prepared for the filibuster by “wearing a catheter and tennis shoes.”
With the Senate considering the legislation only a few days into the 30-day maximum special session, it is unlikely that Alvardo’s potential filibuster at this time will stop the bill from advancing.
The Legislative Reference Library of Texas defines a filibuster as “the prolonged discussion of a bill by an individual, intended to delay legislative action,” and lists 132 filibusters that have been identified.
Under the rules of the Senate, members are prohibited from eating or drinking in the chamber, are prohibited from taking restroom breaks, and must stand without sitting or leaning on their desks while speaking on a bill.
Furthermore, a filibuster can end by way of point of order if the speaker violates the rules of debate three times.
Former Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster to kill a pro-life bill in 2013 is the most recent filibuster that the Legislative Reference Library has identified.
The longest filibuster on record lasted 43 hours by Senator Bill Meier in 1977.
At the current stage of the legislative process for SB 1, the measure must be voted on once more by the Senate and then approved by the House.
If the House — once it attains a quorum — makes any changes to the version approved by the Senate, the differences would need to be worked out through a conference committee and a final version would need final approval from both chambers.
Though the delays that Alvarado’s filibuster may not stop the bill from passing the Senate now, the effects of the filibuster could ripple to put the Republicans in a time crunch later in the special session.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.