Texas Legislature Changes Timestamps on SB5 Votes
12.32 am 2.51 am11.50 pm Pacific
SB5 did not pass.
Later on Wednesday, Gov. Perry called a special session for July 1.
— Arturas Rosenbacher (@Arturas_) June 26, 2013
There was drama afoot in Austin today as Democrats filibustered a sweeping anti-abortion bill that Republicans had been unable to pass during the regular legislative session.
As the clock ticked down, chanting in the gallery shut down business on the floor.
And there was more drama after midnight when someone changed the datestamps of the votes taken on SB 5.
Here’s my screen capture at 10.59 pm Pacific. I was clued to the fact that the legislature’s website was displaying what my eyes and ears heard as I watched the livestream: two votes were taken after midnight.
Moments after I tweeted the screen capture, I was unable to access the webpage.
And when it finally refreshed, all votes were recorded as having taken place before midnight on June 25.
Why is this important? Because the special session ended at midnight.
In my experience (I’ve done web work since 1993 or so), pages like this one are automatically generated from a database file. In other words, a person doesn’t code the page.
In order to change something like this, someone has to change the database.
And things like votes and official times, they’re often (usually?) automatically generated also.
In other words, changes like this are deliberate.
The Texas Legislative Reference Library contains an anonymous statement saying that the official record is that the vote occurred on June 25 and that no one asked staff to make the change.
Davis told the Houston Chronicle that official documents had been deliberately altered. And Sen. Leticia Van De Putte (D) told Texas Public Radio that “Republicans in the Senate, including the lieutenant governor, asked clerks” to make the time change.
Regardless, the LRL statement confirms that the change was deliberate.
Deliberate and not unnoticed.
With 180,000 folks watching the livestream and thousands more watching on Twitter, the event was under a social media microscope.
GOP machinations — and the changing of the date on the web
can only be appears to be characterized like this — failed.
But even in admitting defeat, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) stretched the truth.
Here’s the Storify (12.22 am Pacific)