Senate Begins Redistricting Hearings
LAREDO - The Senate Jurisprudence Committee met Saturday, June 28, 2003, in the first of a series of hearings on Congressional Redistricting. Governor Rick Perry has called a Special Legislative Session on the issue of Congressional Redistricting. The committee does not have a new Redistricting Plan and no member of the committee plans on creating a plan, but members met to hear public testimony.
Senator Judith Zaffirini, who represents Laredo, pointed out that if the House of Representatives develops a bill which includes redrawn district maps, the Senate might create a substitute bill as it commonly does on controversial issues.
In a packed auditorium at Texas A&M International University, the committee heard from nearly one hundred public witnesses, most of them in staunch opposition to any new redistricting plan. The Senate has similar hearings scheduled for McAllen, San Angelo, Houston, and Dallas. The Senate Jurisprudence Committee is chaired by Senator Robert Duncan of Lubbock, and members include Senators Chris Harris, Mario Gallegos, and Todd Staples, who was added to the committee as a replacement for Sen. Teel Bivins. Also present were Sen. Zaffirini and Sen. Kyle Janek, as well as a team of attorneys, who are working with the committee as legal counsel, along with members of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst's staff.
The committee recessed subject to the call of the chair.