House approves Congressional map

Once again, that was quick.

Rejecting charges that the GOP plan to redraw congressional district boundaries discriminates against minorities and punishes Austin, the Texas House just tentatively approved the partisan plan 93-48.

The new map in a revised Senate Bill 4 divides Travis County into five districts, like a plan approved earlier by the Senate.

Travis County is now in two districts.

Several amendments were offered to redrawn the map to add more so-called “opportunity districts” for African-American and Hispanic voters, but all were defeated. Several of those amendments would have put Travis County in two congressional districts.

House Redistricting Committee Chairman Burt Solomons, R-Denton, said the plan is the fairest that could be drawn. While it does not pit any incumbent congressman against each other for reelection, it targets U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, by putting him in a new district that stretches from eastern Travis County to San Antonio.

Far as I can tell from Greg’s liveblogging, the map that the House approved was basically unchanged from the committee version, with a couple of minor tweaks; see Trail Blazers and Texas Politics for more on those. Note that Greg quoted a Texas Insider story that had claimed there would be a substitute plan, Plan C161 by Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, so I went and got the 2008 and 2010 electoral data for it in anticipation. In the end, the Hilderbran Plan went nowhere and wound up getting withdrawn, which at least saved me the trouble of grabbing more images from the redistricting viewer site. No complaints there, let me tell you.

CSSB4 now moves to third reading in the House, then back to the Senate for concurment (concurrage? concurrification?) or a conference committee, then off to the Governor (assuming he can make time in his busy not-running-for-Presidential schedule), the Justice Department, and every court this side of your local JP. I will note that the special session was called on June 1, with Congressional redistricting on the call from the beginning. Today is June 14, and the map is basically finalized and will be on its way to the Governor soon. Makes you wonder what the heck took them so long during the regular session, you know?

Finally, speculation about which San Antonio might pol might run against Lloyd Doggett in CD35 seems to be centering on State Rep. Joaquin Castro, twin brother of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. The author of that piece misidentifies the district as CD21, but I can tell you that I heard the same speculation about Castro from a fairly plugged-in person yesterday, so I’m inclined to take it seriously. Obviously, nothing is in stone until someone files paperwork, and the inevitable Justice Department review will likely put some of this action on hold for the time being. But you can be sure that there’s a lot happening behind the scenes.

UPDATE: The Trib has more.

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