WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Texas House filed the first draft statewide plan for new House districts. House Bill 1, authored by Rep. Todd Hunter (R), will likely change as it makes its way through the legislative process to Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for final approval. The Texas Legislature is currently in its third special session this year to draw new political maps based on the latest census data, which show 95% of Texas’s population growth is attributable to communities of color. Draft maps for state Senate districts were released last week and a draft congressional map was released on Monday.
The draft map both increases Republican strength in the state and reduces the number of Black and Hispanic majority districts. The plan also pits several incumbents against each other, including El Paso Democrats Claudia Ordaz Perez and Evelina “Lina” Ortega, who criticized the move as weakening “the representation of minorities in the Texas Legislature.” This is the first time in decades that Texas does not have to seek federal approval for new districts to ensure it does not disenfranchise voters of color. The Texas House is expected to hold hearings on the proposal in the coming days.