The Texas Legislature has one week left in it's third special session. The item on the forefront: redistricting. Redistricting occurs every 10 years after the U.S. Census results are collected and certified. The U.S. Census measures how much the United States population has grown and changed based on various demographics. Then, state legislatures redraw district maps to reflect the census results. The 2020 census reflected that people of color fueled 95% of Texas' population growth.
The Texas Senate has voted on the proposed Senate and the U.S. Congressional maps. They now make their way to the lower chamber. Remember, Texas gained two congressional seats. The Texas Tribune reported the proposed congressional map largely protects Republican incumbents while increasing the number districts that would have voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. The proposed Senate map, SB 6, drafted by State Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston) would draw safe districts for GOP incumbents who were facing competitive races as their districts diversified in recent years and started voting for more Democrats. State Senator Beverly Powell (D-Fort Worth) was drawn out of the district map.
Very early on October 12th, the Texas House approved proposed political boundaries for the lower chamber’s 150 districts that aim to fortify Republicans’ strength in the state House for the next decade. HB 1, authored by State Representative Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), now moves to the Senate for consideration. Over 50 amendments were considered with dozens of proposed changes being added or failing large along party lines. The Texas Senate approved the House map without any changes and makes it's way to Governor Greg Abbott's desk.
On Wednesday, October 13th, the House Redistricting Committee held a public hearing on the proposed Senate map. Congressman Al Green of Houston (TX-09) provided in-person testimony. Later that night, the House Redistricting Committee voted along party lines to advance congressional map to the full House. Late on October 18th, the House approved the congressional map by an 84-59 vote.
The deadline for all proposed maps to be finalized, voted on by both chambers, and sent to the Governor Abbott is November 15, 2021. NAIFA-Texas will continue to monitor the redistricting process and will provide our members with updates.