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Redistricting committee votes out State House map

Texas Politics:

By a vote of 11 to 5, the House Redistricting Committee approved a plan redrawing the Texas House map that, according to its sponsor, committee chairman Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, creates a total of 30 minority opportunity districts.

The committee rejected several amendments offered by the four Democrats on the committee, who contended that the Solomons plan, House Bill 150, does not properly reflect the growth in the state’s Latino population during the past decade. Latino growth made up 65 percent of the 4.3 million overall population increase in Texas since 2000.

“The plan passed out of committee today splits communities of interest and denies proper representation to people of color – but particularly Hispanics – who drove the population growth in Texas for the past decade,” said state Rep. Robert Alonzo, a Democratic member of the committee from Dallas.

In addition to the four Democrats on the committee, state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, voted against the bill.

State Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, one of the four, objected to the speed with which the Solomons plan was adopted. She said the fast track didn’t allow the committee time to consider the changes made to the bill during today’s committee meeting.

She also opposed reducing Harris County districts from 25 to 24, ostensibly because the county’s population growth was not enough to warrant a 25th seat. Alvarado argued that the county grew by 20.3 percent from 2000 to 2010, a rate that’s close to the 20.7 percent growth from 1990 to 2000 that justified a map with 25 districts.

The adopted plan is Plan H153. Here again is the Harris County view:

Harris County State Rep districts as currently proposed

As before, Harris County gets 24 districts, with Reps. Scott Hochberg and Hubert Vo being paired. I had to zoom way in to realize it, but this map puts me in HD147, Rep. Garnet Coleman’s district. As before, I have the same mixed feelings of delight and heartbreak. I’m also more than a bit peeved to see just how much my neck of the woods gets sliced and diced:

So much for keeping communities of interest together

For comparison, here’s what it looks like today:

This is more like it

The difference between the two is pretty jarring. The fact that the only opportunity to give feedback to the committee was last weekend makes it all the worse. Say what you want about the Houston City Council map, at least you had a chance to be heard.

You can see a PDF of the map here. On the plus side, the weirdly uterus-shaped district in and around Williamson County has been replaced by something that doesn’t appear to have been drawn by a prankster. Beyond that, I don’t have much good to say.

UPDATE: Just got this statement from Rep. Carol Alvarado:

State Representative Carol Alvarado’s Statement on the committee vote and passage on the committee substitute of HB 150 as amended, the redistricting map for the Texas House of Representatives.

“The map that was voted out of the Redistricting Committee is bad for Harris County. I stand by my “no” vote on this proposed plan as it would cause Harris County to lose representation by merging two predominately minority districts.

As a county boasting more than 4.1 million residents and a consistently strong growth rate, Harris County deserves to maintain their twenty-five House districts. Unlike other areas in Texas, the populations of our urban areas did not abandon our county, they simply shifted across our county while staying within our borders. Harris County did not lose population and there is no justification for the loss of a House district.”

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5 Comments

  1. blank says:

    Coleman and Vo did exactly the right things. Coleman’s map established several compact minority seats in Dallas and Harris, which are diluted in Solomons’ map. That will give a prosecutor a clear shot at proving that this map violates Gingles. Vo gathered constituent letters explaining how the map breaks up the Alief community. Those will help the case.

  2. Carey says:

    Wouldn’t this also mean Farrar would no longer live in the district she represents? I don’t know exactly where but I thought it was somewhere near Heights south of 11th.

  3. Carey – To the best of my knowledge, Rep. Farrar lives east of I-45, unless she has moved recently. Even if she were drawn out of her district, there is plenty of time for her to move back into it.

  4. michilines says:

    As far as I know, Farrar lives over here on the east side of 45. I have met her a few times and she has represented us well, especially in her ability to short cut Patrick. Coleman is good at that too.

    Kuff, it seems that Kevin Whited has found a way for all of your posts to seemingly link to my blog. While it looks nice to me and me only, I wonder if he isn’t shadowing your blog or up to some other mischief. He’s not below that. I can send you a screen shot if you want to see.

  5. [...] his original statement on the matter. The roulette wheel ultimately dropped me into HD145, though as before this map splits the Woodland Heights into two districts, with the eastern half remaining in HD148. [...]

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