I'm about to take off to a wedding, so I don't really have time to say much about this, but it looks like the current redistricting strategy in the Senate is to do more or less what the House did, which is divide up urban areas and South Texas. Why this is more palatable - or less likely to violate the Voting Rights Act - than what came from Phil King is unclear to me.
Here are the various newspaper accounts:
Houston Chronicle, which had a great chart that doesn't appear online that gave the number of people who testified for and against redistricting at each of the hearings. The story does note that 89% of the 2620 people were against it.
Fort Worth Star Telegram, which has the one thing that I want to quote:
In a news conference Thursday, Dewhurst attempted to cast the debate as a referendum on President Bush's popularity in his home state.
"It's kind of hard to argue the fact that the majority of voters here in the state of Texas support President George W. Bush and his policies and the majority of our congressional delegation do not," Dewhurst told reporters.
When it was pointed out that at least five Texas Democrats who represent Republican districts were easily re-elected in November, when Bush's popularity at home was sky-high, Dewhurst tersely replied: "Next question?"