We believe that the citizens of Texas have the right to an independent bipartisan citizens commission to draw district boundaries. We support Joint Resolution (HJR) 32, 74, and 118, House Bill (HB) 369 369, along with Senate Bill (SB) 209 proposing a constitutional amendment establishing the Texas Redistricting Commission to redistrict the Texas Legislature and Texas Congressional districts, along with revising procedures for such redistricting.
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What is Gerrymandering? What's the history of re-districting in Texas? WHAT is a district? Check out our FAQ for all things re-districting as well as how our Legislature works and what you can do to help.
What is this about?
The core issue is how state districts are drawn in Texas. We have a long, rich history of the party in power cultivating those districts to favor them in elections. This is known as 'gerrymandering.' Presidents from both parties – including John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Barack Obama -- have spoken out against gerrymandering and urged for a non-partisan process in redistricting. One way to achieve that goal is through an independent, non-partisan redistricting commission.
The Texas Legislature draws district boundaries. If it fails to do so, the Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB) will draw the legislative (but not congressional) districts. That Board is comprised of five partisan officeholders: the lieutenant governor, speaker of the house, attorney general, comptroller, and commissioner of the general land office. Texas’ redistricting process has been the subject of federal litigation for years. See Perez v. Perry; Evenwel v. Abbott; and Davis v. Perry. These lawsuits have cost Texas taxpayers in excess of $5 million.
Multiple attempts to create an independent redistricting commission in Texas have failed. Republican Jeff Wentworth (San Antonio) sponsored bills in 2005, 2009 and 2011. In 2015, Democrats Rafael Anchia (Dallas) and Donna Howard (Austin) sponsored bills. Howard is sponsoring a bill now in the 2017 Legislature. HJR 32 would create an Independent Redistricting Commission and give Texas citizens the opportunity to vote on an amendment to the Texas Constitution to permit the Commission. In addition, Democrat Royce West is sponsoring SB 209, which would create an Independent Redistricting Commission for congressional districts but not legislative districts. That bill has been referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee.
Our objective is to encourage lawmakers to call public hearings on these bills in both the Senate and House and then to vote them out to the legislature for a vote in the 85th legislative session.