WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Texas Legislature completed redistricting ahead of the end of its special session, approving a congressional map late Monday evening after passing state House and Senate maps last Friday. Republicans in the Lone Star State control the entire redistricting process, and the three maps now head to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who is expected to sign them into law.
The state legislative maps were approved by the opposite chamber — the House approved the Senate map and vice versa — without changes on Friday afternoon. Both maps strengthen Republican control in the statehouse, protect Republican incumbents and dilute the influence of voters of color. Democratic lawmakers have criticized the maps for not reflecting the fact that 95% of Texas’ population growth over the past decade came from communities of color. “There are nearly three times as many districts that are majority white compared compared to majority Hispanic,” said Rep. Rafael Anchía (D), critiquing the state House map in light of Texas’ near equal white and Hispanic populations.
On Saturday, the House made several changes to the Senate-approved congressional map. Most amendments proposed by Democrats failed, however the House did restore a slim Hispanic majority in the 35th Congressional District and separated the districts of U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and Al Green (D-Texas), two Black members of Congress. The Senate-approved version had placed Reps. Lee and Green within the same district, forcing them to potentially primary one another. The Senate rejected these changes and the map went to a conference committee to reach a consensus between the two chambers. The conference committee reversed the House’s effort to restore one Hispanic-majority district, but kept Reps. Lee and Green in separate districts. “This undemocratic map doubles down on the Republican gerrymanders of 2011, eliminates competitive seats, and ignores the demographics of the 2020 Census data,” said Eric H. Holder, Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. Legal challenges to the maps are expected.