Senator Robert "Bob" Deuell, M.D.
The Texas State Senate
District 2

For Immediate Release
October 13, 2003

***CAPITOL UPDATE***

Update on Third Called Session

The Texas Legislature recently adjourned the third called session after completing work on several pieces of legislation, including a new congressional redistricting plan.  Contained in this article are analyses of some of that legislation.

House Bill 1 - With the passage of H.B. 1549 and H.B. 2496, 78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003, two runoff primary election dates now exist in the law. Similarly, H.B. 1695 and H.B. 1549, 78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003, established two timetables for conducting the local canvass in certain elections. In addition to these conflicts, current law provides two deadlines for the counting of late overseas mail ballots, depending upon the type of election. H.B. 1695, 78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003, attempted to clarify these deadlines, but provisions relating to overseas voters and voting clerks need further clarification.

Finally, H.B. 1549, 78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003, moved the May uniform election date from the first to the third Saturday in May to accommodate provisional voting under the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002. However, because other enacted legislation lengthened the election calendar, this change in the May uniform election date is unnecessary. C.S.H.B. 1 attempts to correct and clarify the conflicts and confusion which arose relating to the dates for certain election procedures and practices as a result of the enactments of the 78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003.

House Bill 3 - The 77th Legislature adjourned without enacting new congressional districts after the 2000 federal census. Ultimately, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued an order adopting congressional districts (PLAN 01151C) for the 2002 elections. The members of the United States House of Representatives from the State of Texas for the 108th Congress were elected under this plan.

The 78th Legislature adjourned its regular, first, and second called sessions without enacting new congressional districts. Governor Rick Perry called a third special session of the 78th Legislature to consider legislation relating to congressional redistricting. C.S.H.B. 3 sets forth the composition of districts for the election of members of the United States House of Representatives from the State of Texas.

House Bill 7 - C.S.H.B. 7 relates to the organization, board membership, and functions of certain agencies and to the transfer of certain functions to other agencies.  This is also the legislation that moved up the effective date for an additional district court in Kaufman County to January 15, 2004.

Next week, I will outline the remaining pieces of legislation passed during the third called session.

To contact Sen. Deuell about the legislative process, contact the Capitol Office at (512) 463-0556 or mail to Sen. Bob Deuell, Texas Senate, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711.  The website for the Texas Senate is www.Senate.state.tx.us.  The e-mail address for Sen. Deuell is: bob.deuell@senate.state.tx.us.

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