To watch abortion debate, rules of decorum apply

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Senate requires everyone who enters the chamber to follow rules of decorum, the most basic of which is not to disrupt the senators at work.

During the June 25 vote on proposed abortion restrictions, more than 450 protesters disrupted the last 15 minutes of the special session and prevented the measure from becoming law.

In light of that, the senate sergeant-at-arms is handing out a copy of the rules to each spectator that enters the gallery Friday for the Senate’s second special-session vote.

Spectators are barred from:

— Carrying posters, placards, banners, signs or similar material;

— Attaching or affixing posters, placards, banners, signs or similar material to the walls, rails, seats or bannisters;

— Applauding or demonstrating in any way during the Senate session

Should a spectator engage in “disrespectful or disorderly conduct” or obstruct a Senate proceeding, the Senate can imprison that person for 48 hours, according to the Texas Constitution.

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Source: Senate Rules adopted by the 83rd Legislature, Jan. 9, 2013

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