Let's start with this article in the Statesman which examines the position of several key senators on redistricting. A common theme, as summed up by Ken Armbrister (D-Victoria) is that many of them will want something before they'll carry water for Tom DeLay:
An Armbrister staffer, Mike Sizemore, said the senator wants Congress to help Texas before he votes for a Republican congressional map.
"Today, he's a firm 'no,' " Sizemore said. He said Armbrister wants Congress to take care of teachers who cannot collect Social Security benefits of their deceased spouses. He also wants more money for Medicare, trauma care and the state in general.
"This is a defining moment," Sizemore said, quoting his boss. "The president is from Texas. The majority leader is from Texas. When they work on these problems, they can come talk to me (about redistricting)."
Some more indications that the Senate will adhere to its regular procedures:
For the Democrats to lose on this partisan issue, it will take at least two and perhaps more Senate Democrats to vote with Republicans to even bring up the issue of congressional redistricting.
Under a tradition that's evolved since the 1950s, a two-thirds vote of the senators present is required to get a bill to the floor for debate.
Without that tradition, Republicans could easily bring up the issue, because they control the Senate 19 to 12.
But the Senate appears unlikely to surrender that tradition, and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said this week that he's "inclined" to keep it. The lieutenant governor's powers, however, are actually granted by the Senate, and thus the power lies with the senators, a majority of whom determine the rules of debating bills.
Just two years ago, Republicans took advantage of the tradition themselves, using 12 GOP senators to stop state redistricting plans and throw the issue to the Legislative Redistricting Board and to the federal courts.
Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, said of the tradition Tuesday, "I don't know a senator who favors changing it."
Anyway, over in the Chron, signals continue to be mixed about when a special session might be called:
With no official word from Gov. Rick Perry about the timing of a special legislative session, House aides abruptly scrubbed plans for public hearings on the contentious issue of congressional redistricting.
State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, a redistricting foe, said Tuesday that someone "jumped the gun" on the governor's plans for a special session.
A June 21 meeting room reservation for a Hose committee hearing at Texas Southern University in Houston was canceled, as were reservations at University of Texas campuses in San Antonio, Dallas and Brownsville.
Perry is expected to call lawmakers into special session sometime this summer to consider proposals that would redraw congressional districts to increase the number of Republicans elected to the U.S. House from Texas.
The timing of a special session -- which could last as long as 30 days -- may be affected by a National Conference of State Legislatures' summer meeting, scheduled for July 21-25 in San Francisco, and a meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference set for mid-August in Fort Worth.
Two Capitol sources, who asked not to be identified, also said Perry wants to attend part of the Tour de France, where Texan Lance Armstrong will be seeking his fifth consecutive victory. That bicycle race stretches over most of July, but Perry spokesman Gene Acuna said he didn't know if the governor wanted to attend.
Finally, on the Hunt for the Killer Ds Investigations front, we have a new admission that the FBI in Oklahoma was contacted but declined to offer any assistance.
"It's no big deal," Attorney General Greg Abbott's spokeswoman Angela Hale said Tuesday.
"(Assistant Attorney General) Jay Kimbrough did call the FBI in Oklahoma to see about federal jurisdiction, and they said no."
The attorney general's office has disclosed previously that Assistant Attorney General Barry McBee asked the U.S. attorney's office in San Antonio if federal authorities had jurisdiction to return the lawmakers to Texas.
Hale said Kimbrough and McBee were acting as state lawyers under the direction of House Speaker Tom Craddick.
Meanwhile, activity has continued this week in a civil suit by state Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, who alleges that DPS illegally destroyed records after a Public Information Act request was made for the documents. The agency has admitted destroying documents, but said they were field notes and were destroyed before any requests had been made. Burnam said he got his information from a Bailey aide, Roberta Bilsky. Bilsky, in a deposition released Tuesday, said her source was DPS legislative liaison Michael Kelley. Kelley has signed an affidavit swearing he told Bilsky no such thing.