• Wendy Davis appears in Taiwanese animation

    Following her filibuster of abortion legislation in the Texas Senate, Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, has been the subject of intense internet attention. She's appeared in mutliple interviews with national news organizations, and has been made the subject of several internet memes.

    But now, the Texas Senator is the star of a Taiwanese animation video. Next Media Animation, a Hong Kong company, posted a parody video on Davis' filibuster on YouTube. Next Media Animination is well-known for their CGI-animated videos of news. The company has even partnered with Jon Stewart's The Daily Show in the past.

    The video can be watched in both Mandarin and Engilish.

    The video, which has an obvious slant against SB5, casts Davis in a Superwoman suit. It also features the ghost of Ann Richards, a giant T-Rex and a scene where two Republican senators are vaporized and turned to dust.

    SB5 would have banned abortion after 20 weeks. It also would have placed several additional restrictions on abortion. Supporters of the bill claimed it made the procedure safer. However, Democratic lawmakers and activists said the bill would close many abortion clinics statewide, and would make getting an abortion in Texas difficult. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has called a second special session, with abortion included on the agenda.

    Update: This story has been updated to include information about when the video was posted.

  • The Morning Texan: Heat, special session and more

    According to the National Weather Service, Thursday's high could approach 101 degrees. The day will start with a few clouds in the sky, but it is expected to clear up quickly.

    It has been an intense news week. On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States announced several landmark cases, including the long awaited Fisher v. Texas case. On Tuesday, the abortion filibuster lasted all day and legislation in the Senate was killed in the late hours of Tuesday evening. It also broke on Tuesday that the Texas Legislature would be investigating UT System Regent Wallace Hall for possible impeachment. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court released two decisions on the same-sex marriage cases, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced a second special session.

    The Daily Texan has covered this week every step of the way. For live-updates on whatever happens on Thursday, follow us on Twitter @thedailytexan.

    Here is some morning reading:

    Yesterday's most read article: Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced a second special session that includes abortion, transportation and juvenile sentencing. The second special session will begin July 1. 

    In case you missed it: In partnership with Art in Public Places, the City of Austin is investing $105,500 in two downtown public art projects

    What you have to read: The UT Medical Branch-Galveston has been sued over the death of four inmates. The university provides health care to many inmates, as does the entire UT System, and the Texas Civil Rights Project says the school is liable for their deaths.

  • Perry calls special session to begin July 1, includes abortion legislation

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry has called a second special session to begin on July 1.

    The special session will include all "unfinished business" from first session, which includes abortion, transportation funding and juvenile sentencing.

    Here is the full statement from Perry:

    "I am calling the Legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas. Through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state. Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn. Texans want a transportation system that keeps them moving. Texans want a court system that is fair and just. 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. "

    Abortion legislation was defeated by filibustering efforts in the final hours Tuesday night.

    Perry is the only one who can call a special session. He is also the only one who can place items on the special session's agenda.

    Shortly after Perry announced the special session, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst released his own statement.

    "Texas is unlike any other state because our leaders are willing to stand up in the face of pressure from Washington and special interest groups in the pursuit of freedom," Dewhurst said.

  • City allocates $105,500 for downtown artwork

    The City of Austin is investing $105,500 in two downtown public art projects, in partnership with Art in Public Places.

    One piece will be located at the Auditorium Shores trailhead, immediately west of the First Street Bridge near the south shore of Lady Bird Lake, and have a budget of $28,500. The second piece will be located at 8th Street between Congress & West Ave, with a $77,000 budget.

    The city is also working toward a $700,000 art project at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

    Art in Public Places is a program collaborates with professional and local artists to create cultural landmarks and place art where people work and live. The program was established in 1985 by the city, through a city ordinance that allocates two percent of building construction budgets toward artwork commissioned or purchased.

    UT has several Art in Public Places art pieces around campus, including a $1.5 million skyspace under construction, on the roof of the Student Activity Center designed by artist James Turrell. The skyspace is a circular enclosed area lined with reclined benches that allow easy viewing of the Texas sky. The piece is projected to open in October 2013.

    Follow Christine Ayala on Twitter @christine_ayala.

  • What SCOTUS striking down DOMA means for Texas

    Michael Knaapen, left, and his husband John Becker, right, embrace outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, after the court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California by holding that defenders of California's gaymarriage ban did not have the right to appeal lower court rulings striking down the ban. 
    Michael Knaapen, left, and his husband John Becker, right, embrace outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, after the court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California by holding that defenders of California's gaymarriage ban did not have the right to appeal lower court rulings striking down the ban. 

    Couples living in Texas with same-sex marriages from other states can now pull federal benefits, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday.

    On Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued rulings on the two long-awaited same-sex marriage cases. The second ruling has created a path for same-sex marriage in California, and will not have much of an impact on Texas. But the first ruling struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal ban on same-sex marriages that was preventing many couples legally married in states from receiving federal benefits.

    “DOMA undermines both the public and private significance of state-sanctioned same-sex marriages; for it tells those couples, and all the world, that their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition," Justice Anthony Kennedy, who issued the majority opinion, wrote.

    While Texas will continue to forbid and not recognize same-sex marriages, same-sex couples who reside in Texas but have marriage liscences from other states can now pull federal benefits.

    "The most immediate effect is that lesbian and gay Texas couples that are legally married in jurisdictions that allow them to be married will now have recognization by the federal government," said Chuck Smith, the Executive Director of Equality Texas, a gay and lesbian lobbying organization. "It means they can now file a joint tax return, it means they're eligible for social security benefits and any of the things that are covered by federal law."

    Smith said while the Texas constitution is not changing in regards to same-sex marriage, the trend of opinions nationwide is changing. Smith said both rulings, which are considered victories for the LGBTQ community, could have an impact on the public opinion in Texas.

    "The changes in public opinion that are happening in other states across the country are happening here in Texas too," Smith said.

    Exactly ten years prior to ruling on DOMA, the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that struck down sodomy laws nationwide. Smith said that ruling was historic — and so is this one.

    "It is record breaking. It's historic and it is fabulous," Smith said. "I hope the gravity and magnitude of this will have an effect here in Texas, in terms of when people look at our constitution. We need to reconsider that, because there is really no rational basis for inequality."

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