DALLAS — Wednesday, the second day of the 2023 – 88th Session of the Texas Legislature, members of the Texas Senate voted unanimously to revisit redistricting, the process by which district boundaries to which public officials are elected are drawn for all representative branches of government throughout the country. The Constitution requires redistricting to take place following the decennial U.S. Census.
Six redistricting hearings are scheduled beginning Wednesday – January 25, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. and continuing through the final hearing on Saturday – January 28, at 10:00 a.m. All hearings will take place in the Senate Finance Committee Room, Capital Ext. Rm. E1.036.
The Texas Legislature approved new redistricting maps for Texas Congressional House districts and Texas Senate and House districts during a Special Session held in 2021 following the 87th Regular Legislative Session that ended May 31. The Legislature will vote again on maps for the Texas Senate and Texas House due to lawsuits filed by two Texas Senate members which asserted that the Texas Constitution requires redistricting to occur during the first Regular Session after the census.
“This time, the Texas Constitution requires the Legislature to reconsider the redistricting process; unlike the partisan, politically-motivated midterm redistricting that took place in 2003 that reshaped state political boundaries in ways that are still evident today,” said Senator West.
“However it is still important for Texans to pay attention to what will take place over the coming weeks, as new Senate and House maps will advance through the legislative process to near-certain passage. What these maps will look like is important now and will be important for years to come.”
Texas Senate maps approved by the Legislature in 2021 resulted in Texas Senate District 10, whose former boundaries were entirely within Tarrant County, being redrawn to include several, less-urban North Texas counties. The map was in place for the November 2022 Midterm Elections. The previously constructed District 10 elected a Democrat in 2018. The new District 10 elected a Republican last November. Texas Senate District 10 has elected state senators from both political parties twice each since 2002.
Two Senate Redistricting Committee hearings are scheduled for Thursday, January 26 and Friday January 27. Five of the six hearings will focus on a different region of Texas, with the Wednesday, 1:00 p.m. hearing to hear testimony primarily for West Texas. Thursday’s 9:00 a.m. hearing is for South Texas. The Thursday 1:00 p.m. hearing is for North Texas. Friday’s 10:00 a.m. hearing will focus on Central Texas. The 3:00 p.m. Friday hearing is for the East Texas region. Saturday’s hearing will take testimony from citizens from all parts of the state. During all hearings, the committee will accept testimony regarding any region. To date, the Texas House has not scheduled redistricting hearings.
The hearings will be available by livestream at: https://senate.texas.gov/events.php. No in-person testimony will be taken from the general public. All testimony will be via videoconference accessible by internet capable devices. Registration must take place at least 24 hours prior to the start of each hearing.
For more information, please call Kelvin Bass at 512-463-0123 or 214-467-0123.