AUSTIN (Nexstar) – With the second legislative session completed, the door is now open for Gov. Greg Abbott to call on Texas lawmakers again for another special session: this time to address redistricting.
The task of drawing new constituency lines for the state has historically been controversial and messy.
Tensions between Texas Democrats and Republicans were already high after political chaos over the recently passed election law. But soon, lawmakers will have to meet to make crucial decisions about how to change current voting districts.
Data from the 2020 U.S. Census show that Texas ’population exploded: it jumped 16% in 2010 to nearly 29 million.
Republicans like U.S. Rep. James White want to make sure rural constituents are not overlooked, but Democrats like U.S. Rep. Ron Reynolds fear Republicans will ignore the best interests of minorities. According to U.S. Census data, colored jeans accounted for 95% of the state’s population growth.
“They’re going to lose districts to fit their Republican majorities,” Reynolds said. “And so they’ll draw them in a way that dilutes the communities of interest to separate them.”
Without the figures to control the results, Reynolds says his party must be creative.
“I predict it will be a massive disagreement, and then it will end up in the courts where they will finally make their decisions,” Reynolds said. “The best we can do is try to build a record, through hearings and word-of-mouth debate, so that we can preserve it for litigation.”
There is likely to be a legal battle: there landed redistricting fights between 2010 and 2000.
Last time, federal court rulings determined that lawmakers especially discriminated against Hispanic and black voters.