At approximately 2:50am this morning, the Texas House enacted a new redistricting map for the Texas House of Representatives.
The House passed largely intact, the original bill proposed by Chairman of the Redistricting Committee Burt Solomons. There were dozens of amendments offered which resulted in 16 hours of debate. Many of the amendments were put up by Democrats unhappy with the map in an effort to slow down the process and also to attempt and build a record for their expected legal challenges in the future. During the debate, a few amendments did pass but the vast majority of amendments were defeated mainly along party lines. In the end, 92 legislators voted for the plan, 52 voted against, and there were 5 abstentions. The vote was primarily along party lines – 89 Republicans voted for the plan, 10 Republicans voted against the plan and 1 Republican was absent. On the Democratic side, 3 Democrats voted for the plan, 42 voted against, and 4 cast votes as “present”. House Speaker Joe Straus did not vote on the map.
RPT Chairman Steve Munisteri issued the following statement pertaining to the passage of the House redistricting map. “I had the opportunity to watch hours of the redistricting debate yesterday and early this morning, including watching the final passage near the 3:00am hour. I was very proud of how our Republican legislators conducted themselves. Even those who were opposed to the map voiced their opinions in a courteous and respectful manner. Despite a very, very long day, all the Republican legislators I observed who went to the mike either in favor or against the redistricting proposal, presented themselves in a professional and honorable way. I would like to single out Chairman Burt Solomons for patiently answering questions over a 16 hour period, and never losing his cool as he answered tough questions mainly from Democratic legislators. I also would like to single out Representative Wayne Christian who showed a great deal of class going to the microphone at the end of the night to laud Chairman Solomons for his work and to praise Chairman Solomons for the honorable way in which he conducted himself despite the fact that Rep. Christian was in opposition to the plan.”
Munisteri continued, “Prior to the debate yesterday, I asked my staff to prepare a detailed analysis of the Solomons redistricting plan, and the two major Republican-authored alternatives. I was provided with a matrix of data utilizing a formula developed by my staff, which led me to conclude that the Solomons plan created as many or more Republican districts than any alternative, and more importantly, resulted in several Republican districts that were stronger than alternative proposals. Thus overall, I am satisfied that the primary objective of the Republican Party of Texas was achieved through this redistricting process, which was to ensure a legally-compliant map that reflected the wishes of the voters last fall. I understand and respect the opinion of my fellow Republicans who preferred an amended map and I understand the consternation of those Republicans whose representatives are paired, especially those in the East Texas area. Unfortunately, there was not a map offered which did not pair a significant number of Republicans, so it was unavoidable that no matter which Republican plan was adopted, that there would be disappointment. Hopefully, those feelings of disappointment will be soothed next election if all of us, working together, return a strong majority of conservative Republicans to the Texas House.”
To view the House Redistricting Plan, visit the following link and select Base Plan “PLANH276 – 2nd Reading Engrossment HB 150”.