Texas

State website Texas Legislative Council Redistricting Page
2014 districts: Congress, State Senate, State House
2012 interim districts: Congress, State Senate, State House
2000-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House
Primary governing law: Tex. Const. art. III, §§ 25-28

The Latest

SB 4 (congress) was passed on June 24, 2011, and signed on July 18; HB 150 (state House) and SB 31 (state Senate) were passed on May 23, 2011, and signed on June 17. All maps were submitted to a DC federal court for preclearance. On November 8, that court denied Texas' motion for summary judgment in the preclearance case, sending the question to trial; on August 28, 2012, the court refused to preclear each of the three maps. On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court struck down the form ula that required Texas to seek preclearance; following that decision, the refusal to preclear Texas's maps was vacated. Groups challenging Texas's plans have sought "bail-in" orders under section 3 of the Voting Rights Act, which would subject Texas to continuing preclearance requirements.

The initial denial of preclearance in 2011 forced a federal court in San Antonio to draw interim maps. On November 23 and 26, 2011, that court released interim plans (congressional order and map, state Senate order and map, state House order and map). On Jan. 20, 2012, the Supreme Court vacated and remanded for the San Antonio court to redraw and/or re-explain its work, deferring to Texas's enacted plan 1) except for those portions where there is a "likelihood of success" on a challenge under the Constitution or section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and 2) except for those portions where there is a "reasonable probability" that an aspect of the plan will cause it to be denied preclearance. On Feb. 28, the court issued new plans (congressional order and map, state Senate order and map, state House order and map).

More on the extensive litigation here and here, including a great summary of the issues still in contention in early 2013.

In 2013, the legislature returned to draft non-interim plans. On June 21, 2013, the state legislature passed SB 2 (state Senate) and SB 4 (congress), which enact the federal court's interim maps; on June 24, it passed SB 3 (state House), which largely follows the court's interim map. All three were signed by the governor on June 26.  « NEW 

On June 22, 2011, the state Senate passed SB 22, which would create a system for congressional districting similar to Washington's redistricting process, effective for the 2020 redistricting cycle; the bill was not considered by the state House.

  • Institution

    Redistricting political control:

    Governor State Senate State House
    Congressional lines R 12 D, 19 R 49 D, 101 R
    State legislative lines R 12 D, 19 R 49 D, 101 R
    2000 cong. lines R 15 D, 15 R 78 D, 71 R
    2000 state lines R 15 D, 15 R 78 D, 71 R

    Texas' congressional lines are drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto. The members of the state House committee with responsibility for redistricting are listed here; the members of the state Senate committee are listed here.

    The legislature is also primarily responsible for drawing state legislative lines. If it fails to pass a plan, authority falls to a five-member backup commission, in place since 1948. The commission consists of the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the state House, the state Attorney General, the Comptroller of Public Accounts, and the Commissioner of the General Land Office. [Tex. Const. art. III, § 28]


  • Timing

    Census data were delivered to Texas on February 17, 2011.

    Texas state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional lines, though candidates must file for congressional primary elections by January 2, 2012. [Tex. Elec. Code § 172.023(a)]

    The legislature's deadline for drawing state legislative lines is the end of the first legislative session after the census; the regular session began on January 11, 2011, and ended on May 30, 2011. If the legislature fails to pass a plan by then, the backup commission will be convened within 90 days, and must pass a state legislative plan within 60 days of convening. [Tex. Const. art. III, § 28] Candidates must file for state legislative primary elections by January 2, 2012. [Tex. Elec. Code § 172.023(a)]

    Texas ties the drawing of state legislative lines to the Census, and might therefore be construed to prohibit redrawing lines mid-decade, if the legislature (and not a court) has already conducted redistricting. There is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [Tex. Const. art. III, § 28]


  • Public input

    Both the state House and the state Senate committees responsible for redistricting conducted public hearings in spring 2011. The Senate committee has archived video and audio and minutes from past hearings; the House committee has similarly archived video and audio and minutes from its hearings.


  • Criteria

    Like all states, Texas must comply with constitutional equal population requirements; the state constitution further asks that state House districts be equally populated, "as nearly as may be." [Tex. Const. art. III, § 26]

    Texas must also, like all states, comply with section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Furthermore, because Texas is considered a "covered jurisdiction" under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, it has an obligation to submit redistricting plans to the Department of Justice or to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to ensure that the plans do not discriminate against minority communities.

    The state constitution further requires that state legislative districts be contiguous, and that they preserve whole counties when population mandates permit. [Tex. Const. art. III, §§ 25-26] Legislative districts may also be drawn as multimember districts. [Mauzy v. Legislative Redistricting Board, 471 S.W.2d 570 (Tex. 1971)]


  • 2010 cycle cases

    Due to the volume of redistricting litigation in Texas in the 2010 cycle, information on recent Texas cases is located on a separate litigation page, here.


  • 2000 cycle

    In the 2000 redistricting cycle, the Texas legislature failed to pass state legislative or congressional plans before adjourning on May 28, 2001. Several lawsuits were brought in state and federal court, challenging the malapportionment of existing districts, and asking the courts to assume jurisdiction and draw lines themselves.
    [State court: Del Rio v. Perry, No. GN-003665 (Travis County Dist. Ct.); Brown v. Perry, No. GN-100812 (Travis County Dist. Ct.); Cotera v. Perry, No. GN-101660 (Travis County Dist. Ct.); Connolly v. Perry, No. GN-102250 (Travis County Dist. Ct.); Associated Republicans of Texas v. Cuellar, No. 2001-26894 (Harris County Dist. Ct.); Rivas v. Cuellar, No. 2001-33760 (Harris County Dist. Ct.). Federal court: Mayfield v. Texas, No. 2:00-cv-00268 (E.D. Tex.); Mayfield v. Texas, No. 6:01-cv-00218 (E.D. Tex.); Lee v. Texas, No. 6:01-cv-00098 (E.D. Tex.); Manley v. Texas, No. 6:01-cv-00231 (E.D. Tex.); Associated Republicans of Texas v. Texas, No. 6:01-cv-00083 (W.D. Tex.); Associated Republicans of Texas v. Texas, No. 6:01-cv-00167 (W.D. Tex.); Anderson v. Texas, No. 6:01-cv-00214 (W.D. Tex.)]

    The backup commission was convened to draw state legislative districts, which it did on July 24, 2001. The state Senate plan was precleared on October 15, 2001. The state Senate plan was challenged in federal court, and upheld. [Balderas v. Texas, No. 6:01-CV-158 (E.D. Tex. Nov. 28, 2001)]

    The backup commission's state House plan drew an objection from the Department of Justice under the Voting Rights Act. The state House plan had also been challenged in federal court, and after the Department of Justice's objection, the federal court drew state House lines to correct the violation, on November 28, 2001. [Balderas v. Texas, No. 6:01-CV-158 (E.D. Tex. Nov. 28, 2001)]

    For congressional districts, when the legislature adjourned without drawing a plan, the process fell to the courts, in multiple proceedings ultimately consolidated in Travis County state trial court. On October 10, 2001, this court adopted congressional districts, but that plan was vacated by the state Supreme Court on October 19, 2001, on grounds that the trial court had not afforded the litigants due process in arriving at its plan. A parallel case had been proceeding in federal court, which drew congressional districts on November 14, 2001, to govern the 2002 congressional elections. [Perry v. Del Rio, 67 S.W.3d 85 (Tex. 2001); Balderas v. Texas, Case No. 6:01-cv-158 (E.D. Tex. Nov. 14, 2001)]

    When the legislature returned in 2003, it began to redraw congressional lines; the renewed redistricting was highly controversial, and state legislators twice fled the state in an attempt to deny the majority a quorum. A new congressional district plan was eventually passed on October 12, 2003, signed on October 13, 2003, and precleared on December 19, 2003. That plan was challenged in federal court, and though 2004 and 2006 primary elections were held under the plan, it was ultimately struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court on Voting Rights Act grounds. The case was remanded to federal district court, which redrew the legislature's congressional plan on August 4, 2006, to correct the Voting Rights Act violations. [LULAC v. Perry, 548 U.S. 399 (2006); LULAC v. Perry, 457 F. Supp. 2d 716 (E.D. Tex. 2006)]


  • Other state links

    Advancement Project, Texas Redistricting: Rules of Engagement in a Nutshell
    Texas Redistricting, Updates and News about the 2011 Texas Redistricting Cycle

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