The first House redistricting maps are out, creating one new Latino district, keeping the current number of black opportunity districts and pairing 16 incumbents in districts where they would face one of their colleagues in the 2012 elections.
"I want to thank the members of the House for working with the Redistricting Committee over the past weeks and months. We have received public testimony from across the state at hearings and submitted written materials. I deeply appreciate everyone's participation," said Redistricting Chairman Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, in a written statement. "As a member, I know this is a very personal process, and I appreciate the patience and understanding that I have received from my colleagues. The map we are proposing is a fair and legal map that represents the people of Texas and our growth over the last 10 years. And, I believe the members understand this growth resulted in some difficult decisions for me personally."
Four members got paired in East Texas (freshmen in italics):
Four got paired in West Texas:
Four got paired in Dallas County:
- Harper-Brown/R. Anderson
Two in Harris County:
And two in Nueces County:
This is just the start. The House Redistricting Committee holds its first hearings on Friday and Sunday. Other maps are expected soon. A coalition of Latino groups will unveil a map on Thursday, and individual members are certain to present — publicly and privately — their own versions of how they think the new political lines should be drawn. If lawmakers can't agree on the maps, new districts will be drawn by the Legislative Redistricting Board, a five-member panel that includes the speaker of the House, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the land commissioner and the comptroller. All five are Republicans.
The ideal House district in the new map will have 167,637 people in it. Left alone, the districts are way out of whack. Rep. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, has a district with 300,801 people in it, due to growth since the current maps were drawn a decade ago. Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, has a district with 117,346 people in it.
The stats and gory details of Solomons' plan are available on the Texas Legislative Council's website (the one you want is plan 113). Here's the full announcement from Solomons about the starting map for the House, followed by the maps themselves: