endTXgm

Calling all Texans!

You have seen or heard the news that some of the state's 36 congressional districts violate either the U.S. Constitution or the federal Voting Rights Act.  We need your help this week!  We need to make calls and send emails to our Texas Legislators telling them to support proposed legislation to reform redistricting.  This week is very focused on three legislators to inform them how important this issue is to Texans.  These legislators hold significant sway over when and how these bills will be discussed in committees in both the House and Senate.

If you have not already called your representative or senator, this is your first thing to do.

Call your Texas Representative and Senator to support HJR 32, HJR 118, HB 369, and HJR 74/SB 209.  

  • Prerequisite:  You will need to know your representative and/or senator.  If you are uncertain, enter your address at the following link to identify your representative and/or senator – click here.
  • For a script of what to say, click here

MONDAY & WEDNESDAY:  Call the House Chairwoman to call public hearings for HJR 32, HJR 118, HB 369, and HJR 74.  

  • House Redistricting Chair:  Representative Cindy Burkett (TX-113) (512) 463-0464 or email
  • If you have called in the last week, your call should be focused on asking for new information and updates for committee hearings when these bills will be discussed.
  • When you call, there is an important distinction to make in your introduction:  (1) if you live in Rep Burkett’s district or (2) if you are not her constituent but do not wish to be redirected to your representative as this is a state-wide concern.

Discussion topics:

  • I heard that Representative Eric Johnson, the Vice Chair of the House Redistricting Committee, has urged Cindy Burkett, Chairwoman of the House Redistricting Committee, to commence hearings to brief the committee on the implications of the federal court's ruling?
  • In light of the recent court ruling striking down racially gerrymandered districts, Texas is in danger of needing federal pre-clearance of district maps under the Civil Rights Act. A truly independent redistricting commission would shield Texas from federal oversight.
  • On March 10, 2017, a US District Court ruled that three Congressional Districts (Districts 23, 27, and 35) were unconstitutional and violated the Voting Rights Act. There is a chance now that Texas will have to gain preclearance of its districts once again. We, as Texans, have the chance to preserve our right to determine our own districts by creating an independent redistricting commission. I believe it is in Texas’ best interest to support these bills.
  • If you need a script, please click here.

TUESDAY & THURSDAY:  Call the Senate Chairwoman and Vice Chair to call SB 209 to State Affairs committee for discussion.  

  • Senate State Affairs Chair:  Senator Joan Huffman  (TX-17) (512) 463-0117 or email
  • Vice Chair - Senator:  Brian Birdwell  512-463-0122 or email
  • Note that State Affairs Committee is scheduled to meet on 3/20 but redistricting bills (SB 209) is not scheduled for discussion.

Discussion Topics:

  • When you call, there is an important distinction to make in your introduction: (1) if you live in Senator Huffman or Senator Birdwell’s district or (2) if you are not their constituent but do not wish to be redirected to your representative/senator as this is a state-wide concern.
  • I understand that the State Affairs Committee meetings begin today but redistricting bills are not on the agenda. When will the Senate bill on the creation of a bipartisan redistricting committee (SB 209) be discussed?
    • POSSIBLE FEEDBACK:
      1. The staffer will possibly tell you that the author of the bill (Senator West) has to submit it to committee. So that you are aware:  the bill was assigned to the State Affairs committee on 1/25/17 by the Lieutenant Governor.
      2. 3/22 ADDITION:  Sen Birdwell's office responded with they can't schedule a hearing until the author requests one;  callers should contact the author of SB 209, not the committee chairs. We have confirmed with SB 209's author (Sen West) that they do not have any action to take.  Per Senate rules, it is up to the discretion of the State Affairs Chairwoman to schedule the bill into hearing.  There is, however, a deadline for when this must be done; if/when that deadline passes (we are currently not 'near' it), then Sen West will submit schedule request for hearing on SB 209.
      3. Staffer may say that the delay is because the Legislative Budget Board has not completed the fiscal note/impact statement. A senate bill may proceed through the legislative process before an impact statement is completed, but a copy of the impact statement must be distributed to the members as soon as it has been completed. Senate practice is for a copy of the fiscal note to be provided to the committee members before a final vote on a bill in committee is taken.
  • On March 10, 2017, a US District Court ruled that three Congressional Districts (Districts 23, 27, and 35) were unconstitutional and violated the Voting Rights Act. There is a chance now that Texas will have to gain preclearance of its districts once again. We, as Texans, have the chance to preserve our right to determine our own districts by creating an independent redistricting commission. I believe it is in Texas’ best interest to support these bills.
  • In light of the recent court ruling striking down racially gerrymandered districts, Texas is in danger of needing federal pre-clearance of district maps under the Civil Rights Act. A truly independent redistricting commission would shield Texas from federal oversight.