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The Texas State Senate began the ten-year redistricting process on Saturday when it released the first draft of district maps of its own members.
On Monday, the Texas legislature meets for a special 30-day session to redraw political maps based on the latest census data, which showed that people of color fed 95% of Texas’ population growth over the past decade. .
The legislature has the task of setting new boundaries for the House and Senate districts, as well as redrawing new district maps for the seats in the State Congress and for the State Board of Education.
The four maps will have to be finally approved by the House and Senate and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott. After debating, amending, approving and signing them, the lawsuits, some of which have already been filed, will be redistricted in the courts, possibly leading to further changes before the elections. 2022.
State Sen. Beverly Powell, D-Burleson, immediately denounced the initial draft of the map, which was written by Sen. Joan Huffman of R-Houston, who chairs the Senate Redistricting Committee.
“The proposed State Senate map is a direct assault on the voting rights of minority citizens in Senate District 10 and, if adopted, would be an act of intentional discrimination,” it said in a statement. “The 2020 census revealed that the population of the 10th district of the Senate is almost ideal. There is no need to make any changes to the district lines. In addition, since 2010, the percentage of minority population within the district has increased dramatically, while that the English percentage has dropped. The proposed changes are now intended to silence and destroy the established and growing voting power of minority voters in Tarrant County. “
Powell County is currently in Tarrant County, which voted for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, but the new version of District 10 reaches more conservative Parker and Johnson counties.
This is the first time in decades that federal law allows Texas to draw and use political maps without first obtaining the necessary federal approval to make sure they don’t deprive people of color of their voting rights. This federal requirement for pre-authorization of the Voting Rights Act was removed by the Supreme Court in 2013.
Since the enactment of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, Texas has not achieved a single decade without a federal court warning it of violating federal protections to black voters.
“The release of the proposed map is just the beginning of the struggle. I am proud to be the candidate chosen for minority citizens in Senate District 10 and I will do everything in my power to stop this direct, discriminatory and illegal attack on their voting rights, ”Powell said.
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