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Sen. Davis Filibuster Derails Session

By Shelley Kofler, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-971032.mp3

Austin, TX – State lawmakers expected to end their 140-day session and head home today. But early this morning State Senator Wendy Davis, a Fort Worth democrat, launched a filibuster that scuttled a must-pass bill tied to reduced education funding. An immediate special session is now likely.

It was around 10:45 Sunday night when Fort Worth Senator Wendy Davis began filibustering. The bill at issue had been in negotiations for weeks and included a controversial plan for distributing $4 billion dollars less in public school funding over the next two years.

Because the session is set to end Monday Davis only needed to filibuster until midnight to block a vote on the bill which is needed to balance the next budget.

On the floor Davis said she was protesting a budget that fails to pay for an increase in student population for the first time anyone can remember. She read letters from voters who wanted lawmakers to use more of the Rainy Day reserve fund to prevent deep cuts in public education spending.

Four -fifths of state senators would have to support reviving the must-pass finance bill to consider it again on Monday, the last day of the session. That would require the support of Democrats who don't support the legislation.

Governor Perry has said he might call an immediate special session to begin Tuesday to if the filibustered bill was derailed.