Senate Redistricting met on September 30 to hear invited and public testimony on SB 6 (Huffman) relating to the composition of the districts for the election of members of the United States House of Representatives from the State of Texas.

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

  • Huffman – Will not be taking any action on the proposed plan, amendments or on SB 6
  • This hearing is about hearing input on the proposed plan
  • Committee amendments are due October 1 at 10 a.m.
  • At next week’s hearing, will vote on committee amendments and SB 6


SB 6 (Huffman) Relating to the composition of the districts for the election of members of the United States House of Representatives from the State of Texas.

  • Huffman – Adds two new seats in Travis CD37 and Harris CD38
  • Population deviation meets the standard
  • Whitmire – Aware CD18 and CD9 incumbents have been paired; Al Green and Shelia Jackson Lee
    • Yes
  • Whitmire – Did you realize you were pairing these representatives?
    • CD18 is the one initially proposed by the congressional delegation
    • Whether the congresswoman lives in CD18 does not matter, she can still represent them
  • Whitmire – You would accept an amendment to place Shelia Jackson Lee’s residence back in her district?
  • Whitmire – Who is this congressional delegation who drew that map?
    • McCaul’s office contacted me; Congressional Republican Delegation obtained an attorney for the purposes of redistricting
    • Attorney provided the Senate and House committee offices with a proposed map
    • Made changes to these maps
  • Whitmire – What about the Democrat delegation?
    • Welcome input to this map
  • Whitmire – CD18 Park Place and Sunnyside communities have been shifted to CD9 and CD29
    • Congressional Delegation’s Map was drawn blind to race; changes in Harris County reflect dramatic population growth
  • Whitmire – Congressional Delegation had to know what they were doing by pairing those two?
    • They also paired Crenshaw with Garcia
  • Alvarado – Reads West, Lee, and Green submitted letters about CD18 and CD9 concerns; very little changes needed to be made to the districts to comply with the growing population
  • Zaffirini – Members from both parties helped in drafting these maps?
    • Anyone could have contacted me, no one did
  • Zaffirini – Who else is pared?
    • Crenshaw and Garcia
  • Zaffirini – Heard from members congress since the map was proposed?
    • Have not; will work with them
  • Zaffirini – What role does the minority population growth
    • Decisions based on race must be narrowly tailored; population is wholistically considered
    • Proposed plan complies with applicable law
  • Zaffirini – Why was the Alamo moved from one district to another?
    • Did not consider the location in the drawing of this map
  • Zaffirini – Attempts to make congressional and senate districts similar?
    • Is a part of the core principals
  • Blanco – Concerns about CD16; proposed map carves out Fort Bliss and the International Airport
  • Blanco – Trading congresswomen who lives 5 miles away from Fort Bliss with one who lives 500 miles away
    • Do not know where they live
  • Blanco – Fort Bliss has been represented by CD16 since 1960; have spoken to those members?
    • Have not; contact to congressional delegation through the attorney
  • Blanco – Why?
    • Did not talk to congressional members; welcome amendments
  • Blanco – Insight for rationale with dividing El Paso International Airport and Fort Bliss from the city to a district in San Antonio
    • Do not have specific reasons
  • Blanco – Attorney provided insight on that?
    • No
  • Blanco – Any proposals where those removals did not exist?
    • No
  • Blanco – Can we keep them in CD16?
    • Open to amendments; need to be legal and equalize population
  • Blanco – Fort Bliss has a $4 billion impact to the El Paso area; single largest employer in that region; has over 200 MOUs with the city/county
  • Miles – Asking questions on the behalf of members of CD9 and CD18
  • Miles – Were African American opportunity seats when drawing these maps? Considered historical implications?
    • Maps were drawn race blind, have determined to be compliant
  • Miles – Why was such a substantial change made to CD9?
    • To equalize the population
  • Miles – Spoke to the members of congress? Who did you discuss the changes with?
    • No; Chris Gober – the Republican Delegation’s lawyer
  • Miles – Keeping communities of interest together?
    • Yes; did not consider keeping communities of color together
  • Miles – Gained more than 3 million in minority population; Anglo voters in Harris County decreased
    • Is what the Demographer said
  • Miles – Is there a reasonable explanation why Green and Lee were pitted together?
    • CD18 is the drawing that was submitted by the Republican Delegation
    • Open to considering any amendments
    • Have had a hard time determining Lee’s address because it was not provided on request
    • Miles – Can get that to you
  • Miles – Received advise from the last Redistricting cycle that CD9 and CD18 were to be protected under Section 5 of the VRA
    • Section 5 is no longer applicable law
  • Miles – Harris County Delegation consulted with the drawing of CD9 and CD18
    • No
  • Miles – Read a statement against the proposed congressional maps from West, Lee, Green, and Whitmire
  • Miles – CD9 and CD18 have afforded African American voters to vote for the representative of their choice for over 50 years
  • Miles – Have been opportunity districts for over 20 years
  • Miles – Minor adjustments could bring them into the standard population deviation
  • Miles – Important assets such as UH, the Medical Center, and other assets to a nearby proposed district
  • Miles – Proposed maps are taking the economic engines of communities of color that have given those communities life
  • Hinojosa – CD15 was narrowly won by a Democrat, proposed maps make it into a Republican district; what factors were considered in drawing the maps?
    • Maps are legally compliant
  • Hinojosa – Has been talk of CD15 being cracked and packed
    • Maps were drawn blind to race
  • Hinojosa – Will work on an amendment concerning CD15 and CD34
  • Hinojosa – West has submitted a letter; will be on the record


Invited Testimony

Gloria Leal, LULAC

  • LULAC is one of the oldest Hispanic civil rights organizations
  • Provides an overview of the
  • Have not had an opportunity to comment on the map; is no comments on the map now
  • Has not been time to sufficiently analyze the map regarding changes to specific districts
  • Urge state to consider redrawing the districts to comply with the 14th amendment and the VRA
  • Hispanics now comprise around 50% of the population in Texas; does not account for the probable undercount
  • Maps should increase minority opportunity districts
  • Proposed maps preserve the majority party’s power and decrease minority representation
  • Most competitive districts in the state have been eliminated by packing minorities in other districts
  • Zaffirini – What data should we use to determine the map has enough Hispanic opportunity districts?
    • Need to consult with legal experts regarding redistricting law in Texas
    • Need to listen to the state demographer and civil rights groups
  • Zaffirini and Leal discuss how despite SD21 stretches from south Texas to Austin; it “works”
  • Zaffirini – Are there legal issues with this proposal?
    • District in the Valley and Laredo
  • Zaffrini – Proposed districts fail to comply with the VRA
    • Creating of new congressional seat in the Austin area; issues in the Houston area as well
  • Zaffrini – New minority opportunity districts? Where?
    • Should have been at least one new Hispanic opportunity districts
    • Any urban area; Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin
  • Zaffirini – Are working with members on maps? Are they minority senators?
    • Yes; are working with minority senators
    • Have not been contacted by non-minority senators
  • Hinojosa – You mentioned CD15 and CD34 as areas in the Valley and Laredo


Michael Li, Brennan Center for Justice

  • Historically Texas has struggled to get it rights for Black, Latino and Asian voters
  • In order to draw maps based on partisanship, have to target communities of color
  • Proposed maps fail to create minority opportunity and coalitions districts
  • Voters of color have been packed and cracked particularly in Dallas and Tarrant Counties
  • Minority coalition districts are sometimes required under Section 2 of the VRA
  • Districts have seen a decrease in Anglo voters
  • Bartlett v Strickland does not bar coalition districts; must be fact-intensive and investigated
  • Texas Legislative Council and the Office of the Attorney General has not released updated redistricting guidance
  • Members are free to waive the attorney-client privilege with the AG’s Office
  • Red flags particularly in the Dallas Fort Worth area; are only two minority opportunity districts in this area
  • Proposal removes Latino population in CD33 and places in Anglo CD6
  • Latino population in DFW area is the same as in Harris; while they have one less minority opportunity district
  • Could use County Commissioner District 4 in Dallas as a basis for a new minority opportunity district
  • Fort Bend County is one of the most diverse counties in America
  • CD22 is one of the most competitive districts in the state; proposed map dismantles it
    • Anglo CVAP would go from 46% to 55%; decreases Black and Asian CVAP
  • Plan will not hold up under court scrutiny
  • Last redistricting plan had some of the largest partisan bias in the country
  • Huffman noted districts had to be equally populated; is not the current law
  • Supreme Court Tennant v Jefferson County Commission held you can have some deviation when protecting cores of existing districts or pairing incumbents
  • Whitmire – Under the VRA, must consider race in redistricting?
    • Correct; is impossible to separate from the process
  • Whitmire and Li discuss the considerations for drawing maps; drawing maps on a colorblind basis will not hold up under scrutiny
  • Zaffirini – Coalition districts in the federal map?
    • CD33 is a coalition district by all accounts; on the verge of becoming a Hispanic majority
    • Have an opportunity to draw another in the DFW area
    • CD22, need to look at the treatment of the districts in Western Harris
  • Zaffirini – Expand on your comments on Bartlett v Strickland?
    • Difference between a crossover district and a coalition minority district
    • Is no protection for crossover districts; coalition districts could trigger Section 2 under VRA
    • Is demonstrated in Campos v Baytown among other court cases
  • Zaffirini – Coalition districts outside of metropolitan areas?
    • Most in urban and suburban areas
  • Zaffirini – Minority growth in Dallas and Tarrant Counties, but maps do the opposite of that?
    • Could see the districts eventually becoming majority Latino
    • Plan takes out Latino voters and submerges them into CD6
  • Zaffirini – What about the Asian American communities?
    • Large Asian American active voter community in Fort Bend
  • Zaffirini – Map could be challenged at the federal level? State does not have to draw map?
    • Freedom to Vote Act is in the U.S. Senate now; unclear when a vote will be held
    • Has an anti-gerrymandering test in it; Texas would fail that
    • Drawing more minority districts could insulate from that
  • Zaffirini and Li discuss considerations for drawing maps; including appropriate data that should be used, thresholds for minority opportunity districts, among others
  • Hinojosa – Rucho v Common Cause provided a greenlight to partisan gerrymandering; any guardrails?
    • Can partisan gerrymander, but cannot use race to get there; could trigger strict scrutiny
    • Is hard to do a partisan gerrymander just using white voters in a diverse state as Texas
  • Hinojosa – Have two minority districts in South Texas; CD15 and CD34, CD15 has been changed to a Republican district
    • No one knows the racial breakdown of the state better than lawmakers
  • Hinojosa – CD34 now has more Republican voters; non-compliance with the VRA?
    • Raises red flags


Robert Notzon, Texas NAACP

  • Drawing the lines blind of race is impossible especially with majority minority growth
  • New CD37 and CD38 have been drawn as majority Anglo districts; does not make sense
  • Proposed maps by CVAP shows a 23 Republican and 15 Democrat split
  • Maps packs voter of color in 9 districts with over 80% VAP
  • Majority of the Anglo districts are between 60-75% VAP
  • Hinojosa – Documents will be submitted to the committee?
    • Reading from the plan documents, just commenting on them
  • Proposed CD24 adds about 15% Anglo CVAP to this district
  • CD24 should have a people of color CVAP to around 45%; plan ignores this
  • CD6 was not drawn race blind; is no way to crack voters to rural districts and not know the impact
  • CD31, CD22 and CD2 Anglo population has been pumped back up while there has been substantial minority growth
  • CD9 and CD18 were just over the target population
    • When they are a protected district, is no reason to take 200,000 people out and putting in less than that


Public Testimony

Myra Flores, Self – Against

  • Running for Congress in CD34
  • Hispanic Republicans in South Texas are very disappointed in with the CD drawings
  • In CD34 six Republican counties were removed
  • Do not know why we would hand this district to a Democrat
  • Hinojosa – Prior to the proposal, breakdown was 50.5% Democrat and 47.5% Republican; proposed Senate map changes that to majority Republican
    • Proposal removes six Anglo counties


Paul Gregory, Self – Against

  • Resident of Montgomery County
  • Proposal splits up Montgomery County in two; is an attempt to silence conservative voices


Cyrus Reed, Lonestar Chapter of the Sierra Club – Against

  • Sierra Club cares about geography; splits communities in DFW CD4, CD5, and CD6
    • Areas with ozone pollution concerns are being represented by those who do not necessarily care about that
  • Need to revise CD13 part as of it snakes into the ERCOT market
  • See cracking and packing in the Houston area; CD7, CD8, and CD9
  • Map of Travis County does not make sense
  • Map will lead to more partisanship; not creating competitive interests
  • League of Independent Voters’ map made more sense


Rusan Rohoba, Self – Against

  • Resident of Lufkin
  • Final CDs need to be representative of the demographic changes in Texas
  • Deep East Texas has been marginalized over the last 10 years
  • Proposed CD17 continues this marginalization; extends into Williamson and Travis Counties
  • Overviews proposed two maps that aim to centralize Lufkin and other rural communities


Tim Yoake, Self – Against

  • Resident of Montgomery County; residents are outraged by proposed plan
  • Part has been moved to Harris County; will dilute conservative representation


Wendy Yoake, Self – Against

  • Resident of Montgomery County
  • Proposal will hand more control to city interests


Richard Yoake, Self – Against

  • Resident of Montgomery County; reiterates previous testimony that the proposed map splits county into liberal Harris County
  • Zaffirini – Montgomery County should remain whole? Which district?
    • Correct; want to remain in the same district


Stephen Winthrop, Self – Against

  • All districts are exactly over 700,000; method should be re-thought
  • Census Blocks have been moved in Callahan and Travis County; will not hold in court
  • Tarrant County has not received a minority district despite minority growth
  • Non-competitive districts lead to feelings of disenfranchisement which could lead to social upheaval


Janine McNolty, Wells Branch Neighborhood Association – Against

  • Resident of North Central Travis County
  • Plan splits Wells Branch in half to rural CD10 and CD37
  • Congressional maps should keep communities of interest together
  • Requests Wells Branch remains whole in CD37


Marie Cabriales, Cameron County Conservatives – Against

  • Tired of under-representation in CD34; young people are leaving the Valley to go elsewhere
  • Hinojosa – RGV is one of the fastest-growing places in the state


Dr. Suzanna Caranza, Self – Against

  • Resident of Austin
  • Proposed congressional map does not reflect the growth in communities of color
  • Failure to perform a ratio impact analysis is a clear red flag
  • Does not matter if they are drawn colorblind if they are found to be discriminatory
  • Glad to be moved out of CD21, but is clear gerrymandering


Devan Allen, County Commissioner Precinct 2 Tarrant County

  • Disappointed to the actions of this body
  • Congressional map shreds minority communities in my precinct in Arlington, Mansfield and Grand Prairie


Natalie Steinfield-Childry, Self – Against

  • Resident of South Austin
  • Moved from CD21 to CD37; Hispanic voters have been continuously silenced


Gwen Coco, Self – Against

  • Resident of Montgomery County
  • Conservative votes will be diminished if are separated into Harris County

Pracilla Tresdale, Self

  • Resident of Montgomery County
  • Asks committee to not split the Montgomery County vote


Sandra, Self – Against

  • Resident of Mission
  • CD15 was drawn to become a Republican stronghold
  • Effects CD28 greatly; taking this district from a B4 to a B7 district
  • Is not about race, is about what is important to these communities
  • Map robs the grassroots movements on both sides of the isle


Eugune Marrick, Self – Against

  • Resident of Alamo Heights
  • Bexar County is split up between CD20, CD21, CD35, CD28, and CD23
  • Jeff Harper map in DistrictViewer is a good map; puts two compact congressional districts in San Antonio and Austin


Jesus Torro-Martinez, Self – Against

  • Resident of Bexar County; is probable there was an undercount in South Texas
  • Should split CD22 and keep lines where they currently are


Robert Cotez, Republican Party of Montgomery County – Against

  • Is an incumbent protection map; more establishment Republican map
  • Has been drawn due to Harris County Republicans having trouble getting elected


Stephanie Swanson, League of Women Voters – Against

  • Public hearing is being held only three days after the proposal was released
  • Has been no time to determine if the maps are constitutional
  • Texas gained two new congressional seats due to minority population increases
    • Yet, there are no new Hispanic opportunity districts
  • Precincts have been split in Harris County and other communities
  • Have been packing and cracking of minority communities
  • Sylvia Garcia and Dan Crenshaw have been paired as well as Green and Lee


Nicholas Basha, Texas Rising – Against

  • Resident of Austin
  • CDs 6, 11, 23 and 25 cut into urban and suburban areas
  • East Oak Hill and Round Rock have been separated from the Austin districts


Jessica Boynton, Self – Against

  • Resident of Montgomery County; need to preserve community values
  • Conservative voices have been continuously silenced


Denise Zapeda, Self – Against

  • Resident of Montgomery County; against current proposed map


Elisa Tomillo, Self – Against

  • Resident of El Paso
  • CD16 and CD23; CD16 needs to contain Fort Bliss and the International Airport
  • Closest representative has lived 200 miles away
  • Maps have been drawn for representatives to entrench their own power


Jennifer Eckhardt, Self – Against

  • Resident of Montgomery County; speaks against currently drawn lines


David Stout, Precinct 2 El Paso Commissioner Court – Against

  • International Airport and the Fort Bliss should not be separated from El Paso; is part of our community of interest
  • Community has invested billions in this installation
  • Blanco – Can you talk about the MOUs, infrastructure, etc. that the county has done for Fort Bliss?
    • Hospital district has built a number of clinics, have invested in quality of life projects, spent millions in transportation infrastructure
  • Blanco – Talk about the MOU for the Satellite Tax Office?
    • Providing close services for those at Fort Bliss
  • Blanco and Stout discuss the geographical implications of the proposed maps
  • Blanco – Are multiple crises in this county, and are coming to Fort Bliss


Joaquin Gonzalez, Mexican American Legislative Caucus – Against

  • Raises concerns in multiple regions
  • CD23 moves Hispanic communities to CD16
  • CD20 is packed by moving Hispanic communities in and taking in Anglo communities from the North
  • CD15 Jim Hogg and Duvall are replaced with majority Anglo communities
  • Is possible to draw 2 Hispanic majority CVAP districts in Harris County
  • Is major packing in CD29
  • Proposed map reduces HCVAP districts by one


William King, Self – Against

  • Retired judge; way to limit the number of upset people is the form an independent redistricting committee
  • Proposed district maps, as drawn, are unfair


Sandra Crenshaw, Self – Against

  • Resident of Dallas in CD 30
  • Surprised North Texas did not receive a majority Hispanic district
  • Historic Black community of interest has been separated under these plans


Jeff Harper, Self – Against

  • Overviews their submitted map C2102 on DistrictViewer


Sara Chen, Texas Civil Rights Project & Self – Against

  • Map goes to great lengths to disenfranchise Texans of color
  • Opposed to the inadequate transparency in the process
  • Hearings before the maps are released is no help to anyone
  • Demand more public hearings, including public testimony, and separate hearings for at least 5 regions of the state
  • Asks for a demographic and statistical explanation as to how communities of color will be able to elect the member of their choice


Ashley Chang, Texas AAPI Redistricting Coalition – Against

  • In North Austin; overviews the rise in AAPI hate crimes
  • Proposed congressional maps cut the Avery Ranch community in half with CD37
  • Collin and Denton Counties communities of color have been split between four other CDs
  • Has been cracking of minority communities in Harris and Williamson Counties
  • Provides an anecdote that
  • Zaffirini – What areas could a coalition district be created for the Asian American community?
    • CD22 – Fort Bend and Harris Counties specifically
    • Also, in the DFW area around Collin and Denton Counties
    • Provides a personal anecdote of working in coalition minority communities
  • Zaffirini – High concentration of Asian Americans in urban and suburban areas? Any rural areas or along the border
    • Yes; are populations along the border
    • Asks they are not split up

SB 6 left pending


Closing Comments

  • Huffman – Reiterates committee amendment deadline