Second Special Session: A cast of characters to follow


Editor's Note: The Texas legislature started the second special session on Monday, July 1, without much fanfare. But following the dramatic ending to the first special session, there are sure to be dramatic moments in the coming days. Lawmaking is a messy and confusing business, and it is easy to get confused with so many different people involved. The Daily Texan has thus prepared a list of people you need to know to survive the second special session. You can try to memorize this list now, or just refer back to it throughout the session when you have questions. People are listed in alphabetical order.


Wendy Davis:

Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, obtained national attention when she successfully filibustered SB 5, the abortion legislation of the first special session. Some have said that Davis’s filibuster has “revitalized”  the Democratic party in Texas, and others are predicting she may run for Texas governor in the future.

On Twitter, Davis now has more than 120,000 followers. Before her filibuster, she had less than 3,000.

Despite Davis’s successful filibuster and attention, political analysts have predicted that the redistricting maps Texas Gov. Rick Perry just signed have gerrymandered her out of her district, meaning she may not be reelected.


David Dewhurst:

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst presides over the Texas Senate. Among other powers, this means Dewhurst decides on parliamentary procedures, assigns bills to certain committees and controls the budget process.

Dewhurst lost the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate Seat to Ted Cruz in 2012.

Since the events of the  Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth,’s filibuster, Dewhurst has come under fire for his leadership in the Texas Senate. Several different republicans have declared they will be running for his position as lieutenant governor in the next election cycle. Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson have all declared they are running for lieutenant governor.

Dewhurst has promised to empty and clear out the gallery if the crowd becomes loud again.


Glenn Hegar:

Photo Courtesy of Texas Senate

Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, is the youngest member of the Texas Senate. He filed Senate Bill 5 during the first special session, the bill filibustered by Wendy Davis. He filed Senate Bill 1 during the second special session.

Jodie Laubenberg:

Photo courtesy of Texas State Director.

Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, is serving in her fourth term in the Texas House. She filed House Bill 2 in the second special session, which is very similar to the first special session’s Senate Bill 5.

Dan Patrick:

Photo courtesy of Dan Patrick's YouTube channel.

Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, is serving in his fourth term in the Texas Senate. Patrick has filed SB 9, which has to do exclusively with abortion-inducing drugs. Following Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster of the abortion legislation during the first special session, Patrick declared he was running for lieutenant governor.

During his announcement, Patrick criticized Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and he said the republican party needed a lieutenant governor that was unapologetically conservative.

Cecile Richards:

Cecile Richards is the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She has held this position since 2006. She is also the daughter of former Texas Gov. Ann Richards.

Cecile Richards is an activist, democrat and leader among pro-choice advocates. She came to Texas during the filibuster. She attended a rally on the south steps of the Texas Capitol on July 1, and will likely continue to make headlines if she stays in Texas.


Rick Perry:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the man who called the second special session. Only the governor can call the special session, and only the governor can decide what will be considered on the special session.

Perry, Dewhurst and others have insisted that the abortion legislation is about protecting innocent lives and making the procedure safer for women. Perry has spoken disapprovingly of the filibuster that happened on the last day of the first special session.

“We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do,” Perry said in his statement when he announced the second special session.

Perry has yet to announce whether he will run for Texas Governor again, or if he will run for the Presidency of the United States again.


Leticia Van De Putte:

Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, D-San Antonio, has been practicing pharmacy since 1980. She has previously served in the Texas House.

During the last minutes of the first special session, Sen. Van De Putte raised a parliamentary inquiry that many say set off 10 minutes of cheering, screaming and clapping from the gallery that delayed SB 5. This has been referred to as the “citizen filibuster.” Sen. Van De Putte’s question was: "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”

On the last day of the first special session, Sen. Van De Putte returned to the Texas Senate following her father’s funeral.