Texas lawmakers debate redistribution as third special session begins at State Capitol

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AUSTIN (TUSEN) – Texas lawmakers are back on Capitol Hill for the start of the Third Special Session. One of the main items on the agenda is the redistribution, re-division of the political maps of the Congressional, State House and Senate districts every ten years after the publication of the census results.

The Republican majority in the House and Senate will oversee the process, but members of both parties agree the cards will end up in court. So far, Republicans have released the proposed map of the state’s 31 Senate districts. One district already under the political microscope is Senate District 10 in Tarrant County, which currently leans Democratic.
The current district is entirely within Tarrant County, but according to the new map, District 10 would be in a smaller part of Tarrant County and include all of Johnson and Parker counties, which are more Republican.

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Democratic Senator Beverly Powell of Fort Worth, who represents the district, rejected the proposal. “This is a clear and intentional attempt to dismantle Senate District 10, to deny minority voters in Tarrant County the right to vote. I will not say that I was terribly surprised by it. But I was surprised at how much they pulled our minority voters out of the district. “

Republican Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills represents Senate District 9, which is also in Tarrant County. “There are some things that I like about how the new card looks. And some things that, you know, I didn’t necessarily like about the new card. No one likes change. And yet we have to deal with population growth, and that means the lines are changing. “

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Lawmakers have yet to release the proposed map for congressional districts, but Texas will receive two new congressional seats. Republicans and Democrats agree that North Texas is expected to receive one of the new districts due to population growth over the past ten years. But they disagree on whether the demographics of this growth should play a role.

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State Senator Royce West, Democrat of Dallas, said, “The point is, it should be a seat that a Hispanic can win, and we can still maintain the districts that we have now. What I don’t want to happen is for the powers to be reversed to try to take the two seats in Congress. “

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Rick Barnes, Chairman of the Tarrant County Republican Party, said, “I think the state of mind says we’ve configured it to serve a specific demographic is the wrong mindset. That is not at all what it is supposed to do, it is intended to ensure equal representation among the people.

During their special session over the next 30 days, lawmakers will also consider how to spend billions of dollars on federal COVID-19 relief and a bill that would require transgender athletes in public schools to compete in identical teams. at birth. kind.

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