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House Committee Cuts Off Debate, Passes Texas Abortion Bill (Update)

Update: A Texas House panel voted early this morning along party lines to pass a bill to put more restrictions on abortion in the state. While the committee heard hours of testimony, more than one thousand people who signed up to speak, weren’t given the opportunity.

House State Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Byron Smith, R-Corsicana, cut off testimony at midnight.

State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, criticized the move in a statement:

“On behalf of the women and men in the communities I serve -- and those that were silenced tonight -- I call on leadership to hold public hearings across the state so Texans can have their voice heard.”

Original Story (July 2, 5:22 p.m.): For the second time in less than a month, members of the Texas House hear public testimony on a bill that would limit access to abortions in Texas.

Testimony on House Bill 2 (the abortion bill) is limited to eight hours. It should end at midnight, but lines of people hoping to give public testimony have stretched out the door and into the Capitol hallways since mid-morning. Approximately 2,000 registered witnesses are willing to testify.

The House Committee on State Affairs Chairman, Byron Cook, R-Abilene, decided to limit testimony after testimony on Senate Bill 5 stretched until nearly 4 a.m. on June 20.

Hundreds of those wishing to testify were unable to do so. 

For continued coverage of the hearing, follow @kutnews and watch the livestream of the hearing, which is available on the legislature's website and in the player below. And here's more coverage from KUT News:

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at aweber@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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