The House Committee on Redistricting is in the process of holding three field hearings around the state. The hearings are in Dallas (yesterday), San Antonio (Monday), and Houston (next Wednesday) to consider redistricting plans. While the notice is far too short for adequate public input, I encourage all of you who can make it to attend and make your voice heard.

At next Wednesday’s hearing in Houston (University of Houston, Main Campus, Michael J. Cemo Hall, Room 100D), I shall personally lay out my bill HB17, which is the House redistricting plan originally drawn by a three-judge panel in San Antonio. In contrast to the interim maps used for the 2012 elections, H302 more accurately reflects Texas’s demographics. In a state where almost 90% of the population growth over the past decade has been non-Anglo, people of color deserve to have an appropriate number of opportunities to elect their preferred candidate. Plan H302 largely accomplishes this goal, providing four or five additional minority opportunity districts than do the interim maps. H302 proves that a fair, Constitutional plan can be drawn, and I urge the Legislature to agree to this plan.

The Republican leadership, however, seems intent on making permanent the interim maps that were used for the last election. The interim plan was never meant to be used beyond the 2012 election; they were only drawn so that Texas could hold elections in light of the originally enacted plan failing to obtain federal preclearance (and subsequently being thrown out).

We have right now the opportunity to adopt maps that allow Texas voters an adequate opportunity to be heard, and Plan H302 is a an example of such a plan. I urge my fellow members to approve it.

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