Compromise in the Senate?

Senators Staples and Duncan have announced that they have a map that solves the West Texas issue. Here’s the AP report:

AUSTIN – Senate negotiators hammering out a congressional redistricting plan today presented what they called a good solution to solve a dispute with the House over how to draw West Texas on the new map.

It was not immediately clear how the House viewed the proposal.

The plan by Sens. Todd Staples, R-Palestine, and Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, would create a district that includes the cities of Midland and Abilene. Another district would include San Angelo and Lubbock.

Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick of Midland has been pushing for a district that would make his hometown the base for a congressional seat. The existing map has Lubbock and Midland together in a district represented by U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, a rookie Republican from Lubbock.

“This is a reasonable solution to this problem,” Duncan said.

The senators unveiled the map shortly after noon, saying they wanted to meet Gov. Rick Perry’s deadline of today for a compromise between the House and Senate plans.

It ain’t solved until Craddick signs off on it, so don’t celebrate/mourn just yet. The Quorum Report has a few more details:

In an impromptu press conference at noon today,Senate conferee’s Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) and Todd Staples said they will accept Arlene Wohlgemuth’s (R-Burleson)west Texas solution with the exception of the Henry Bonilla (R-San Antonio)district.

That leaves South Texas intact and at least temporarily removes Martin Frost’s (D-Dallas)vulnerability.

The two chairmen believe that the west Texas portion of the map is acceptable to the Republican congressmen from that neck of the woods.

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Contacted after the Staples-Duncan press conference, Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth (R-Burleson) said, “While I’m very honored that the Senate accepted by West Texas solution, it’s not my West Texas solution. It leaves Taylor county whole.”

If Taylor county remains whole, Charlie Stenholm (D-Stamford) could still win re-election.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: More from the Quorum Report.

Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock), said he can accept a compromise on Congressional map that maintains a solid agriculture seat in the Texas delegation for the future. In a news conference today with conference committee chairman Sen. Todd Staples, R-Palestine, and Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, Duncan said the West Texas portion of a map offered by state Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth, R-Burleson, is acceptable.

Speaker Tom Craddick issued a statement distancing himself from the Wohlgemuth map. He said, “While the House leadership always welcomes input on any bill from any House member, I have not seen the redistricting map offered by Rep. Wohlgemuth. I’d like to remind Sens. Staples and Duncan, however, that Rep. Wohlgemuth is not a member of the House Redistricting Committee, has not participated to date in the House-Senate negotiations on redistricting and did not speak to me or for me — or the House — in drawing her map.”

Senator Leticia Van de Putte, (D-San Antonio) Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus raised serious concerns today about the potential impact of plans such as that proposed by Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth. She pointed out that such plans threaten Hispanic representation in South Texas and Dallas-Ft. Worth, reducing the statewide number of effective minority opportunity districts from eleven to ten. She also included a fact sheet.

(Note: Both embedded URLs point to Word docs.) Sounds like there’s still no agreement between the chambers. We’ll see what tomorrow’s papers say.

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