Re-districting Hearing Draws Critics

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Re-districting occurs every ten years, after the census results are released.  At an informational hearing at the state Capitol, lawmakers looked at what could happen if districts are re-drawn mid-decade. Professor Steve Bickerstaff teaches at the University of Texas School of Law and says he sees a potential problem.

“In our view the constitution of the United States effectively restrains legislative bodies from voluntarily re-districting when they don’t have accurate data to use for that purpose.”

 Legislative Democrats have expressed concerns over the constitutionality, while Republicans say it’s necessary to make changes. G-O-P Committee member Mike Villines says the current process of lawmakers drawing their own district lines is a big mess.

 “It involves self-interested actors to draw districts to perpetuate their own political careers.”
Republicans are complaining that a re-districting bill supported by the Governor has so far gone nowhere, while those circulating petitions for a ballot initiative plan to turn in their signatures by the end of the month.