The mood, and boundaries, have changed a lot at the state capitol since the regular session. Upon entering the capitol, you take immediate notice of the differences -- chained off sections of the stairwell and rotunda and an increased presence of Department of Public Safety troopers.
But what has really changed in this second special session?
The chief legal counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is applauding Gov. Rick Perry for signing into law the interim voting maps, but said not having a Voting Rights Act leaves minority communities vulnerable.
This week the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.
Nina Perales is the chief legal counsel for the MALDEF and said the supreme court has taken away a tool for fair and equitable state voting maps.
Texas Matters: The battle over abortion hit a boiling point in Texas this week and it all started with a 13-hour filibuster attempt by Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, which was cut short, continued with Sen. Leticia Van De Putte of San Antonio challenging the Republican (male) dominance of the floor, which finally pushed the room into a frenzy with one ruckus crowd of supporters. This did not sit well with the governor.
An irony of therecent Texas political theater: Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis' filibuster aimed at stopping anti-abortion legislation raised not only her profile but that of Republican Gov. Rick Perry.
Shortly after Davis' talkathon ran out the clock on a bill that would potentially have made abortions much harder for women in Texas to obtain after 20 weeks of pregnancy, Perry put himself back in the national headlines.
Gov. Rick Perry was clear in his statement about the intended purpose of a second special session, stating "I am calling the legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas."
Lawmakers will be back in the state capitol on Monday, July 1 to continue work.
Josh Havens, who is with the governor’s office, said this session will be about the three items the legislature was unable to pass during the first session.
The attempted filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, slipped off the rails, but Democrats were still able to defeat the legislation with a little help from citizens who packed the state capitol.
Davis’ filibuster lasted about 11 hours, until the strict filibuster rules of the Texas Legislature allowed Republicans to end her attempt to block the bill just short of the midnight deadline.