House Redistricting met on October 11 to hear public and invited testimony on SB 4 (Huffman) the Senate redistricting plan and SB 7 (Huffman) the SBOE redistricting plan. Both SB 4 and SB 7 were voted out of committee (8-6) with no amendments.

This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the discussions on the various topics taken up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the discussions but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions.

Opening Comments

  • Hunter – Intention to vote out SB 4 and SB 7

SB 4 (Huffman) (PLANS2168) Relating to the composition of districts for the election of members of the Texas Senate

  • Hunter – Ideal 940,178 population; 6.14% is the deviation
  • 7 majority HVAP districts; SDs 6, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 29
  • 7 minority coalition VAP SDs 7, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 23
  • Buckingham and Campbell are paired in SD25; SD24 has no incumbent
  • Murr and Hunter discuss the Senate’s process in drawing this plan
  • Anchia – How are the minority coalitions/opportunity districts defined in this plan? SD16 is not considered one?
    • Unsure; not included in my list
  • C Turner – SD10 is not considered a coalition district?
    • Not as described to me
  • C Turner – Huffman noted numerous times this was drawn blind to race; how are we able to list the minority opportunity districts?
    • Not able to answer that
  • C Turner – What is the Senate’s criteria for minority coalition district?
    • Unaware
  • Anchia – Will there be a process for amending this map in committee?
    • Yes, but plan to vote it out today
  • Anchia – Breakdown analysis provided by the Senate on how Hispanic population growth was accounted for in this map?
    • Do not have information on that


Public Testimony

Dr. Susanna Carranza, Self – Against

  • Resident of Austin; metropolitan areas have been targeted by packing and racial gerrymandering
  • Texas population growth was over 95% in racial minority growth
  • All proposed plans decrease the minority districts; failed to publish a racial impact analysis
  • How can you draw plans blind to race and then be able to list off the minority district
  • Process has not been transparent; have enough time, do not need to push this through
  • White – What do you believe is the racial/ethnic breakdown in Texas?
    • Does not make sense to not increase minority districts due to the minority growth
  • White – In an ideal world, representation would reflect ethnic population percentages?
    • Are never going to have one to one representation; need to elect the person of their choice
    • Is about how the districts have been carved up to dilute their voices; particularly SD10
  • Anchia and Carranza discuss why representation is important
    • The legislative process already dilutes the voices who do not have the ability to take off of work to testify
    • Notes during the elections bills the discussion did not have the poor working class’s voice in mind


Rolly Cruz, Self – Against

  • Senfronia Thompson is my representative
  • The Voting Rights Act was gutted a while back; Section 2 remains
  • Are looking at voter dilution in urban counties
  • Notes there has been redistricting precedent in Baker v Carr, Reynold v Sims, and Evenwel v Abbott


Tim Dowling, Self – Against

  • Resident of Corpus Christi
  • Voting power for minority Texans has been decreased while Anglo representation has increased
  • Notes Sen. Seliger has been drawn out due to his unwillingness to bend to the Lt. Governor’s will
  • Like China, Russia, and other one-party countries, Texas has a false democracy to ensure the majority party remains in power regardless of how the people vote


Pam Durham, Self – Against

  • Resident of SD10 from the south side of Fort Worth
  • Here in person since it has been difficult to testify virtually and through the portal
  • Do not know how these maps are passing through; majority of the public testimony has been against these plans
  • Have drawn a compact map that preserves historic neighborhoods and along school district lines
  • SD10 was determined in court to be a minority coalition district; has been cut apart and shoved into other districts
  • Have split a historically poor zip code and put with rural agrarian counties over 100 miles away
  • Anchia and Durham discuss the historic neighborhoods in Tarrant County
  • Anchia – SD10 was already close to ideal population size; would have only needed a small amendment to bring it within deviation?
    • Correct; is possible it needed no change at all
  • Anchia – How would you describe Tarrant and Johnson counties?
    • Urban with a mix of suburban
  • Anchia – Parker, Palo Pinto, Shackelford, Stephens counties?
    • Parker and Johnson have some suburban areas
    • Are mainly agrarian rural counties
  • Anchia – Former SD10 has been picked up by SD23, SD22, SD9 and the new SD10
    • Correct
  • C Turner – SD10 as proposed, northern boundaries splits in half the predominantly minority communities?
    • Correct
  • C Turner – HD90 is a historically Hispanic opportunity district, this map splits up this district?
    • Correct, are placed in SD9 and new SD10
    • Have been displaced into SD9
  • C Turner – HD95 is also split between SD9 and SD10?
    • Correct; that current district is historically a Black district
  • C Turner – Current plan dilutes these voices?
    • It silences them; notes the gentrification of Hemphill
  • C Turner – Last redistricting cycle SD10 was restored; what changes have been made to Tarrant?
    • Tarrant County has gone to minority majority


Clara Faulkner, Self – Against

  • Mayor of the City of Forest Hill; member of the NAACP
  • Forest Hill is majority minority; growth in entirely due to the minority population
  • White population in Tarrant County has increased by around 30,000 since 2010
  • Have previously testified to keep SD10 or add another minority district
  • Seven rural counties have been drawn into the district to dilute minority districts
  • SD10 should be restored; County Commissioner Charles Brooks has called for the same
  • C Turner – How long have you been Mayor?
    • Total of 9 years
  • C Turner – Have done any work in the seven rural counties that are to be added to SD10?
    • No
  • C Turner – Any of those counties have attempted to partner with Forest Hill?
    • Nothing that would reflect anyone doing anything for the city
  • C Turner – Forest Hill is a community of interest with those being added?
    • No
  • C Turner – Believe African American voters would continue to elect the representative of their choice?
    • Absolutely not, no choice whatsoever


Nilaphar Haphisi, Self and Emgage Action – Against

  • Live in SD18 and Fort Bend; experienced great minority growth
  • Map does not provide for any competitive seats and does not reflect minority growth
  • SD18 and SD17 were drawn to preserve the incumbent’s power
  • Proposed maps already take a map considered to be gerrymandered, and make it worse
  • The lack of compactness in this plan is a red flag
  • Bill may be voted out of here with no changes out of respect for Senate colleges
    • Need to respect the people of Texas who are speaking out against this plan
  • Do not vote this bill out today, ask Senate colleagues to re-draw this map


Vanessa McDougall, Self – Against

  • Resident of Austin
  • Williamson County 77% of growth has come from people of color
  • SD5 and SD24 cracks these communities into majority White rural districts
  • Has been drawn with no swing district; is a pre-ordained split of 19 Republicans and 13 Democrats
  • Cannot respond properly to COVID, fix the healthcare system or fix the grid without proper representation


Elisa Gonzales, Self – Against

  • Intention of the Redistricting Committee has been racial discrimination from the beginning
  • Senate hired Adam Foltz who already has a reputation for creating biased redistricting maps
    • Reads a court opinion concerning the Wisconsin redistricting process and Foltz
  • Agrees with Sen. Eckhardt, maps should reflect the growth of communities of color


Jerry Vattamala, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund – Against

  • AALDEF is based in New York; have been involved in redistricting and elections in Texas for decades
  • Texas Asian American communities of interest need to remain whole; has been significant growth in the last decade
  • Proposed plan cracks these communities; lines appear to be drawn with intentional discrimination


David Jones, Self and Clean Elections Texas – Against

  • Committee should not rubber stamp the approval of these Senate maps
  • Senate maps do not apply to the legal presumption of good faith
  • Legal duty is to protect the voting rights of people of color
  • Texas is not majority White, but the maps are drawn that way
  • Census numbers have been ignored by the party in power in order to maintain that


Prerna Bott, Texas AAPI Redistricting Coalition, Wise Up Texas, and Self – Against

  • Redistricting plan cracks AAPI communities including those in Cedar Park, Leander and Round Rock
  • AAPI communities in current SD5, SD14, SD24, and SD25 are cracked
  • Should be provided with a racial impact study


Julie Gilburg, Self – Against

  • Resident of Aldridge Place in Austin; SD9, SD10 and SD2 communities are already cracked
  • Leadership in Congress and the Senate has consistently not been reflective of the racial diversity and growth
  • Diverse Euless has been placed in a district with Rosebud which is over 140 miles away
  • Communities want more solutions for the grid, ability for trans students to play sports, and the expansion of Medicaid; representation needs to reflect that


Ashley Chang, Self and Texas AAPI Redistricting Coalition – Against

  • Resident of Northwest Austin; provides a personal anecdote of their immigrant family
  • Asian American communities have been cracked between the proposed SD5, SD24, SD14, and SD25
  • Have been claims these maps are race blind, but these maps are intentionally discriminatory
  • Need to recognize communities of color and the importance of coalition districts
  • Anchia – Where are AAPI communities of interest that should be protected?
    • Western Harris and Fort Bend; SD6, SD13, SD7 and SD18
    • SD17, Chair Huffman’s district, slices directly through the AAPI community
    • Communities in Dallas are cracked between SD2, SD8, SD12, and SD3
    • Notes difficulties with the submission portal


Devan Allen, Self and Tarrant County Commissioner Precinct 2 – Against

  • First African American to be elected to Precinct 2
  • SD10 is torn to pieces; asks the committee to break precedent and amend the proposal
  • Overviews the communities of SD10 which are moved to surrounding rural counites and the rural communities that have been added to SD10
  • Sen. Seliger was a part of the Redistricting Committee when SD10 was restored by the courts, can only guess that is why he voted against it on the floor
  • C Turner and Allen discuss the ethnic diversity of Precinct 2 and the people of color who have recently been elected by that community
  • C Turner – Makes sense Southeast Tarrant County to be split into three SDs?
    • No
  • C Turner – Amendments offered in the Senate, PLANS2132 and PLANS2134, would have fixed the cracking?
    • Supportive of both plans, do not harm electoral numbers of any incumbent


Committee Amendments

Committee Amendment 1 (C Turner) (PLANS2171) – Restores boundaries to SD10 and makes adjustments to the surrounding districts

  • C Turner – Compactness and keeping the central district benchmark does not stand up to scrutiny given how SD10 was carved up
  • Amendment could save the state millions in legal fees
  • Understands it is tradition to not make changes to the other chamber’s map, but urges members to not adopt the map without this amendment
  • Committee Amendment 1 fails (6-8)

SB 4 voted out of committee (8-6) to the full House


SB 7 (Huffman) (PLANE2106) Relating to the composition of districts for the election of members of the State Board of Education

  • Hunter – Ideal population 1,943,043; deviation is 0.86%
  • 4 HVAP districts 1, 2, 3, and 4; 38% HCVAP, political performance elects a Democrat
  • 3 minority coalition districts 7, 8, 13
  • 9 Republican and 6 Democrat split
  • Districts 4 and 7 are paired; District 7 currently has no incumbent
  • Anchia – District 4, any reason why analysis includes HCVAP than HVAP?
    • No specific reason
  • Anchia – Spanish surname voter registration in District 3 from 59 to 48.8%; SSVR in district 1 lowered from 65% to 60%
    • Is not in my report
  • Anchia – District 6, lowers the population of people of color from 60.3% to 56.3%
    • Do not have data on that
  • Anchia – Montgomery County was added to District 6?
    • Have no verification on that
  • Anchia – Senate included an analysis HCVAP majority district in Harris County or a Black coalition district?
    • Do not have the knowledge of that
  • Anchia – Not aware we were voting this out today; will be providing floor amendments which address concerns; do not have an amendment today
    • People can do floor amendments


Public Testimony

Dr. Sergio Lara, Texas AFT – Against

  • Resident of Houston; former educator
  • Need more diverse representation; Latino population needs to be represented in Harris
  • Denying Harris County Latinos an opportunity to vote for the representative of their choice
  • Map should add a Hispanic opportunity district
  • Anchia – How should we draw a Hispanic opportunity district?
    • District 6 shows a White majority population; Southeast of District 4 has shown tremendous Latino growth


Prerna Bott, Texas AAPI Redistricting Coalition, Wise Up Texas, and Self – Against

  • SBOE District 10 should show the growing minority populations, but does not show that
  • Williamson and Travis AAPI population has grown
  • AAPI communities of interest are separated in this map in District 10 and District 5


Ashley Chang, Texas AAPI Redistricting Coalition and Self – Against

  • Overviews Asian hate crimes that have occurred and historical anti-Asian sentiment
  • What we teach our children matters in terms of history, sexual health, among others
  • Proposed maps dilute the voice of Asian Americans in Fort Bend in Districts 4, 7 and 8
  • Are also split in Dallas and Collin Counties

SB 7 voted out of committee (8-6) to the full House


Closing Comments

  • Hunter – As Anchia noted, members can do amendments to SB 7 when it is brought on to the floor.