Two new maps wee presented in the Senate today, one by Sen. Florence Shapiro and one by Sen. Jeff Wentworth.
Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, on Wednesday said the map being considered would create 18 Republican-dominated districts; 11 Democratic and three that would be a toss-up.
Austin's District 10, represented by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, would go from 60 percent Democratic to 60 percent Republican, based on how voters cast their ballots in the 2002 statewide elections. The district currently includes only the central and eastern portions of Travis County.
In the proposed map, District 10 would stretch to the east from northwest Travis County, through Lee County and southeast toward Houston. Almost half of the population would live in Travis County.
Travis County's other current district, 21, now encompasses western Travis County and the hill country. It's considered a 71 percent Republican district and is represented by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio. The redrawn district would stretch south from western Travis County to San Antonio.
District 25 would stretch from southeast Travis County to the Texas-Mexican border, taking in numerous counties including Caldwell.
The map was one of two presented Thursday.
State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R- San Antonio, represents portions of southern Travis County. He presented a map that would largely leave Travis County's districts unchanged.
"I believe that every urban county that can support a full congressional district should have one and not be divided," Wentworth said.
However, Wentworth appears in the Senate minority in that view.
The Legislature is meeting in special session because many Republicans want to increase their share of the state's 32 congressional districts. The Democrats now hold a 17 to 15 majority.
Wentworth said his map probably would produce 19 Republican districts and 13 Democratis ones.
The map leaves Williamson County whole in District 31that includes Bryan-College Station. Bastrop would be split between District 31 and a Gulf Coast district now represented by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Clute. U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, and Paul would share Hays County. All of Caldwell County would be in Paul's District 14.
While he leaves Travis County virtually the same, Wentworth draws McLennan County north into a Fort Worth district. He would pit U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, against U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis.
According to the Quorum Report, Dewhurst and Perry have said there will be no blocker bill in the next special session:
In a press availability this afternoon, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst laid his cards on the table.
Senate protocol and tradition will be honored meaning the 2/3s rule. But he was quite clear. If the Democrats use their numbers to block redistricting during this special session, the Governor will call another special session.
In the next special session, there will be no blocker bill. Referring to the "Bullock precedent", Dewhurst said that the redistricting bill would be the first one filed next time around. Responding to a court ordered redistricting in 1992, then Lt. Governor Bob Bullock put redistricting as the first bill in sequence. That meant that a 2/3s vote was not required to bring the bill up.
State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, who authored the [unalterable opposition] letter, said senators opposed to redistricting include both Democrats and Republicans, and they are in constant contact with each other to discuss strategy.
The situation in Austin is so tense, hand-to-hand combat could be a possibility, he said.
“I think as soon as a map is voted out of committee, they (Republicans) will find they do not have a quorum on the Senate floor,” Hinojosa said.
The statement implied that senators opposed to redistricting would stage a walkout, much like the one in the House during the regular session. A group of Democratic state representatives, now known as the Killer D’s, led an exodus from Austin to prevent a quorum on the House floor. As a result, redistricting legislation died in the regular session.
“DPS (The Texas Department of Public Safety) no longer can arrest a legislator,” Hinojosa said. “We would resist arrest. They would have to handcuff us and we would use physical force to defend ourselves, because they have no authority to do that (arrest a legislator).”
We're rapidly approaching a crossroads here. Something's got to give. I've had my moments of optimism this week, but I fear there are dark clouds rolling in. We'll know soon enough.Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 17, 2003 to Killer D's | TrackBack