Senate committee approves redistricting map

That was quick.

A state Senate panel, voting along strict party lines, approved a Texas Congressional redistricting plan designed to increase Republican strength in the U.S. Congress.

The Senate redistricting committee voted 8-4 to send the map to the full Senate, which could consider the proposal as early as Monday. The vote came after hours of pubic testimony that featured heated and racially tinged exchanges.

The map was drawn to keep Republicans in all the seats they hold now, including two freshmen who won big upsets in 2010 in mostly Hispanic districts in South Texas. Using those recent gains as the baseline, the four new Congressional seats coming to Texas then would be divvied up evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

This is Plan C130, which is a modified version of the original map that fixes the ridiculous arch-shaped CD36 that even Burt Solomons admitted was a joke. I prepped a post analyzing this new map and queued it up for tomorrow morning, not imagining that the committee would take action so quickly. Live and learn. That post will be up first thing in the morning. In the meantime, read Greg‘s liveblog of the committee hearing. Postcards has more.

One more thing: Some people, like RG Ratcliffe, have suggested that the existence of this special session has given the Republicans a golden opportunity to take another crack at Congressional redistricting, which otherwise would have been left as an exercise for the courts. I say let’s look at the timeline:

May 24

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.”

May 26

Gov. Rick Perry today said state lawmakers should be the ones to draw new congressional districts, not judges.
“I do think that the responsibility is with the members of the Legislature,” Perry said this morning. “To allow the courts to do that is not in the best interest of the people.”

May 31, Day One of the special session

Congressional maps “are ready to go tomorrow morning, if [Perry] wants them” said state Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo. He wouldn’t discuss the specifics of the maps, but said that he and his redistricting counterpart in the House, Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, would start with identical maps.

At the time of Seliger’s statement about not doing redistricting in the regular session, I assumed he meant there wasn’t a map that the powers that be had agreed on. It’s clear now in retrospect that the map was indeed ready, and that all that was needed was the excuse for the special session. Which we already had, thanks to the failure to reach a deal on windstorm legislation. But even if that wasn’t the case, Perry was free to call one any time, whenever he was ready. The point I’m making, which wasn’t clear to me until now, is that once Seliger and Solomons agreed on a map, we were going to have a special session to do Congressional redistricting. The only difference between this and the alternate reality in which Wendy Davis keeps quiet and lets SB1811 pass is the need to redo the school-related bills. This was always the endgame.

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3 Responses to Senate committee approves redistricting map

  1. Pingback: Seliger-Solomons 2.0 – Off the Kuff

  2. Pingback: Wendy Davis profile – Off the Kuff

  3. DavidNYC says:

    I know I’m a broken record on this, but except for the possibility of being able to bring a map to the floor sans a blocker bill, nothing explains why they engaged in this charade to push redist to the special session.

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