Senate And House Redistricting Committees Meet At Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center In San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO - The Senate and House Redistricting Committees met Tuesday, May 16, 2000 for a joint public hearing at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio. The legislature must redraw legislative, congressional and State Board of Education (SBOE) district lines every ten years upon completion of the census. The new boundaries will be used to elect members to the representative bodies in the next election cycle. Districts must have equal or nearly equal representation and be drawn in a manner that does not have a purpose and will not have the effect of denying the right to vote on the basis of race or language.
After the committees recognized all of the legislative members present, San Antonio Mayor Howard Peak welcomed the committee members to the city. Invited testimony was heard from David Hanna and Alan Ware of the Texas Legislative Council (TLC). Hanna discussed legal issues relating to the process, giving examples of the 1990 redistricting experience. Ware informed the committee of local area population estimates and trends. Bexar County's growth is estimated at 17%.
Public testimony began with Jensie Madden representing the League of Women Voters. Madden supported the establishment of a small bi-partisan commission to draw the new districts, to meet in special session for the deliberations, and encouraged the use of statistical sampling to ensure fairness in representation. State Representative John Shields addressed the committees. Comal County Clerk Joy Streater testified about using consistent boundaries. Alex Crank II testified as an American citizen. John Milem testified about the redistricting process. Milem has experience as a graduate student in various state redistricting processes. Mike Baselice gave a visual presentation representing Texans for Fair Redistricting. Royal Masset also testified representing Texans for Fair Redistricting using various visual aids. Castle Hills Mayor Bob Anderson testified about low voter turnout relating to the confusion of district boundaries. William C. (Bill) Owens, Jr. testified about the redistricting process and his experiences during the 1991 process. School Board Members James Howard and Mary Powell also addressed the committees.
Gerald Hebert testified representing IMPAC 2000, the redistricting project of the Democratic National Committee. John Murnin testified representing Common Cause. Thomas B. Hofeller, Director of Redistricting for the Republican National Committee testified. Attorney Perry Burnham testified. Thomas C. Rockeymoore testified representing the NAACP. Jack M. Finger testified. George Korbel testified representing the Mexican American House Caucus.
Members of the Senate Redistricting Committee include Senators Troy Fraser of Burnet County and Mario Gallegos of Houston serving as co-chairs, Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin, Robert Duncan of Lubbock, Mike Jackson of LaPorte, Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville, Frank L.Madla of San Antonio, Jane Nelson of Flower Mound, Steve Ogden of Bryan, Florence Shapiro of Plano, and Royce West of Dallas.
Members of the House Redistricting Committee include Representatives Delwin Jones of Lubbock serving as chair, Bob Glaze of Gilmer, Fred Bosse of Houston, David Counts of Knox City, Jim Dunnam of Waco, Kent Grusendorf of Arlington, Bob Hunter of Abilene, Ken Marchant of Carrollton, Paul Moreno of El Paso, Jim Pitts of Waxahachie, and Ron Wilson of Houston.
The committees stand recessed subject to the call of the chairs. The next hearing is planned for May 31 in El Paso at the University of Texas El Paso Campus.