New Filibuster Rules for the Texas State Senate

The shoes Wendy Davis wore during her filibuster have some great Amazon reviews
The shoes Wendy Davis wore during her filibuster have some great Amazon reviews

Recent events have led some Texas state senators to conclude that their filibuster rules — which forbid eating, drinking, sitting, leaning, going off-topic, or leaving the senate floor for any reason — are too lax. The following are some new restrictions they’re considering:

1. If you’re a senator engaged in a filibuster, you must speak only in sentences that can be spelled out using a standard set of Scrabble tiles. For example, “the muzzled dog ran through the maze” is permissible, because it can be constructed using one Z tile and two blank tiles, while “the muzzled dog zigzagged through the maze” is not.

2. Vulgar language will not be permitted. Don’t say “pregnant” when you mean “expecting”. Don’t say “trans-vaginal” when you mean “through a lady’s special passageway”. Don’t say “rape kit“, ever.

3. During each sixty-minute period, you must say at least one sentence that uses every letter of the alphabet exactly once. Remember to stay on-topic.

4. The dress code will be strictly enforced. All senators must wear appropriate footwear. Appropriate footwear is defined as brown or black men’s dress shoes for normal senators and shoes of any color with at least a 3” heel for lady senators.

5. The president of the senate may, at any time, interrupt you and demand a numeric accounting of your speech. You will then have thirty seconds to respond with the total number of Scrabble points for all the words you’ve spoken while you’ve had the floor. The calculation should be performed as follows: use the face value of each Scrabble tile. Assume that blanks are used only when absolutely necessary. Assume no double- or triple- letter or word squares. Don’t forget to add the 50-point bonus for each 7-letter word.

6. In the past, senators have said “I yield for a question, but I do not yield the floor” in order to ensure they kept their right to speak after answering a question. This is no longer sufficient; in order to hold the floor, you must say “I yield for a question. Simon says I do not yield the floor.”

7. The president of the senate may, at any time, interrupt you to ask a question from a basic literacy test. You have twenty seconds to answer correctly.

8. Scrabble tiles are not permitted on the Senate floor.

9. The clock says whatever the governor says it says.


39 thoughts on “New Filibuster Rules for the Texas State Senate

    1. I don’t think it will have an immediate impact, except for energizing the people involved. Although I’d never heard of Wendy Davis before this, and now I’m kind of hoping she runs for president.

      1. There is a movement to get her to run for Texas governor. Wouldn’t it be nice if they had anon-crazy person in that office?

        And I agree with the comment you made below. Ugly shoes!

    1. I actually think they’re kind of ugly. I didn’t mention that in the post because I was afraid to say something that controversial.

      1. Most Californians that I know will be quick to point out that the wierd stuff happens in the southern part of the state (unless they’re from southern California, in which case they’ll say “What’s so wierd about that?”)

  1. They also had a rule that you can’t lean on a desk or a chair. Maybe one of the new rules will be that a senator engaged in a filibuster must now stand on her toes at all times.
    Of course, any Republican senator is eligible for a waiver from all of these rules.

            1. Of course. But I don’t actually hold a patent on number 10 (I applied but it hasn’t been approved yet) so please don’t worry about it yet.

  2. So well done! I honestly think they have entirely different rules for women legislators, though. And one of them would be the requirement that all women legislators adopt the dress of the antebellum south. Nothing like a tight whale bone corset to prevent standing and breathing for long.

    There is no way to keep the women down in TX. Change is coming.

    1. This is the actual dress code:

      Rule 3.01. While the Senate is actually in session, no male Senator or Representative or any other male person shall come on the floor of the Senate without wearing a coat and tie.

      Apparently women can wear whatever they want, and men aren’t required to wear pants.

    1. And the TX senate decides to take a week off. This is like the classic puzzle: the vote will be sometime within the next 30 days, but which day it is will be a surprise.

  3. About time they tightened up on those lax rules. Now you can have some respect for the institution again.

    I didn’t know you were Freshly Pressed. You should have come over and been all Braggy McBraggy so a person would have a clue. Congratulations! That Total Recall post was so deserving – hysterical!

  4. I really wish that this was not so close to the truth. Every time I want to bag on Texas for what a trainwreck their legislature is…I remember that I live in fucking Arizona, facepalm myself, and then start drinking again.

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