Nation: Wis. Democrats filibuster to halt anti-union bill (copy)

Opponents of then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s budget bill sleep in the rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol as part of a filibuster intended to halt anti-union legislation on Feb. 22, 2011.

What exactly is it?

A filibuster, also known as talking out a bill, is a tactic of parliamentary procedure. It is a way for one person to delay or entirely prevent debate or votes on a specific proposal.

Term is Dutch in origin

The term “filibuster” comes from the Dutch word meaning “pirate.”

One lasted a full day

Strom Thurmond, of South Carolina, holds the record for the longest filibuster ever delivered by an individual U.S. senator. His 24-hour, 18-minute speech on Aug. 28-29, 1957, was against a civil rights bill.

Bathroom break brought end

On June 12, 1935, (84 years ago today), U.S. Sen. Huey Long, D-La., spoke for more than 15 hours on the Senate floor. His filibuster ended when he had to go to the bathroom.

Wilson a staunch critic

Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States, despised the filibuster. He claimed it rendered the government “helpless and contemptible.’’


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