Lege officially punts on Congressional redistricting

If you had told me at the beginning of the session that this would happen, I would not have believed you.

The chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee, Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, just confirmed to LegeLand that it won’t happen this session.

“It’s too late to get a map through the process,” Seliger said. “The federal courts will decide [how to draw the lines]. Or if a special session is called on any subject, we will ask to have it added to the agenda.”

Unlike redistricting of the House or Senate, which go to the Legislative Redistricting Board if maps aren’t passed by the Lege, state law says failure to pass a congressional map must be settled in special session or in state or federal court.

Other media sources have reported that Gov. Rick Perry is unlikely to call a special specifically for redistricting, but specials on other issues look likely.

I could have believed that they’d run out of time, but to not even present a map? That blows me away. I think that Greg is right and that this does no favors to freshman Reps. Quico Canseco and Blake Farenthold, and I imagine that the Todd Hunters of the world are none too pleased to be cut out of the loop, either. Still, with a school finance deal looking increasingly questionable, a special session is a real possibility, and if you’re going to have one anyway, you may as well take advantage of it and have another crack at producing a map. Assuming the Republicans can work out their own disagreements over it, of course.

Along those lines, here’s more on Smokey Joe Barton’s lawsuit to force the Lege to do something about Congressional redistricting.

With the Legislature apparently out of time to produce a congressional redistricting plan before the session ends Monday, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton has filed a lawsuit asking a state court in Corsicana to do the job.

Barton, R-Arlington, filed the suit at 12:01 a.m. Sunday in Navarro County District Court, according to his spokesman and an Austin attorney representing Barton in congressional redistricting matters.

“We’re in a situation where the Legislature can’t draw a map and so from our standpoint we filed a lawsuit to ask the court to draw a map,” said attorney Trey Trainor of the Beirne, Maynard & Parsons firm.


Trainor said Barton’s suit asks the court to draw a new map with “input from both ourselves and the attorney general,” who will represent the Texas Sectary of State in any legal action over redistricting.

Barton’s congressional spokesman, Sean Brown, said Barton sent e-mails to the other 22 Texas Republicans informing them of the lawsuit. “He wanted to be the first on one in that legal arena to make sure he was able to propose a solution for congressional redistricting,” he said.

Translation: He wants to make sure his preferences take precedence over those of Lamar Smith. It’s always a dick-measuring contest when you get right down to it.

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4 Responses to Lege officially punts on Congressional redistricting

  1. DavidNYC says:

    Charles, I’m similarly shocked. I popped over here wondering if you had any explanation for it, but I see that you’re as blown away as I am!

  2. blank says:

    I like Greg’s latest conspiracy theory that Perry is trying to extract something from the Texas delegation and will call a special session once he does. Actually, I don’t care to speculate that it’s Perry’s doing. However, I suspect there are some private rifts, in addition to Barton/Smith, and as soon as those have been resolved, Perry will call a special session.

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