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February 16, 2000     (512) 463-0300

Senate and House Redistricting Committees Hold Public Meeting in Austin

AUSTIN - The Senate and House Redistricting committees held a public meeting Wednesday, February 16, 2000 at the state capitol in the Senate Chamber. Testimony was given by the following people, Leslie Fields with the Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches; J Gerald Hebert, General Counsel Impact 2000, Texas Democratic Party; Nina Persales, Mexican American League Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF); Julia Marsden, League of Women Voters; George Korbel; a presentation was given by Gaye Hume and Tricia Tingle of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Members of the Senate Redistricting Committee include Senators Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay, co-chairman, Mario Gallegos of Houston, co-chairman, Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin, Robert Duncan of Lubbock, Mike Jackson of La Porte, Eddie Lucio of Brownsville, Frank Madla of San Antonio, Jane Nelson of Flower Mound, Steve Ogden of Bryan, Florence Shapiro of Plano, and Royce West of Dallas.

House members include Representatives Delwin Jones of Lubbock, chairman, Bob Glaze of Gilmer, vice-chairman, Fred Bosse of Houston, David Counts of Knox City, Jim Dunnam of Waco, Kent Grusendorf of Arlington, Bob Hunter of Abilene, Kenny Marchant of Coppell, Paul Moreno of El Paso, Jim Pitts of Waxahachie and Ron Wilson of Houston.

The House has a standing committee on redistricting, whereas the Senate's committee is newly selected every 10 years, by the Lt. Governor.

Redistricting is the revision of the geographic boundaries of legislative, congressional, or other districts used to elect members of a representative body. A redistricting is required after the release of the decennial Unites States census to adjust district boundaries to equalize the populations of the districts.

Two primary requirements govern all redistricting decisions in Texas. First, districts of a given type (senate, house, congressional) must have equal or nearly equal population. Second, districts must be drawn in an unbiased manner. They cannot deny or abridge a citizen's right to vote on the basis of race or language.

The redistricting time table is as follows:

Year of 2000
Date Event
Feb.--Sept. Regional Hearings
Mar. 14 Primary elections
April 1 Census Day
April 11 Primary Runoff Elections
Nov. 7 General Election
Dec. 31 Deadline for Delivery of State Population Totals
Year of 2001
Date Event
Jan. 9 77th Legislature Convenes in Regular Session
Mar. 1 Earliest Likely Delivery of 2000 Census Population Data
April 1 Federal Deadline for Delivery of 2000 Census Population Data
May 28 Regular Session of 77th Legislature Adjourns
June-Aug. Legislative Redistricting Board May Convene, If Necessary

For more information on redistricting, go to the Legislative website at http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/tlc/research/redist/redist.htm.

The committee recessed subject to call of the chairs. The redistricting committees next meeting will be in Houston.

Click here to watch the hearing in RealVideo format.

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