Legislative Update: House Redistricting Map Passes
A legally-compliant map that reflects the wishes of the voters last fall.
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".
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
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Update: New Texas House Map
Representative Wayne Christian speaks with former Representative Joe Nixon and redistricting expert and election lawyer Trey Trainor about the new Texas House map that protects our conservative House members and elects more Republicans in general, known as the "Nixon Map."
Please note that after filming the video below an updated Nixon map was released publicly and the map is now called "Plan H166." This is just an update version of the original map.
To view the map go to http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us.
Click on "select plans," and select "base plan."
Select "PlanH166- NIXON STATEWIDE HOUSE PROPOSAL 2"
Please call your State Representative and ask them to not vote for the house map passed out of the redistricting committee and to vote for the new map as an amendment on the House floor on Wedensday. Reference the Nixon "Plan H166." As of today the vote will be on Wedensday April 27th, this is an updated date from the previous email. Plan H166 will be introduced as an amendment to HB 150, the map passed by the committee.
Time is of the essence here, the House will adjourn this afternoon and all of the Representatives will return home to their districts for Easter weekend.
Political Ad Paid for by Wayne Christian Campaign
I am hearing that the vote may be delayed until Wednesday the 27th.Talking PointsDO NOT for current Committee map Map 153, CSHB 1501. Map 166 Reflects the voting patterns of the state and especially northeast rural Texas.2. Map 166 Does not violate the Voting Rights Act, both Urban & Rural.3. Map 166 Draws lines of districts that are compact, giving better representation to those communities.4. Map 166 Reflects what voters did in 2010.When you call, ask the person at the other end to record this on the CMS, the Constituent Messaging System. That way you phone call and message can be counted quickly if anyone want to measure the amount of calls coming in on the subject. Emails are good, but phone calls are better in this instance. The CMS will record 'for and 'against'.Contacts:
Speaker of the House
Speaker Pro Tempore
House Democratic Leader
Chairman of House Redistricting Committee
Vice Chairman of House Redistricting Committee
House Committee on Redistricting Members
James K. Keffer
Rep. Aaron Pena
Rep. Larry Phillips
Rep. Joe Pickett
State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock
State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
It's time for serious fiscal reform in Washington.
Congress passed a budget deal last week that cut less than 3% of the current annual deficit. I would have voted NO on that "$38 billion" agreement, even if it hadn't included smoke and mirror gimmicks. It was not a serious response to our fiscal crisis.
Our national debt is a moral issue. We cannot allow our children and grandchildren to be saddled with trillions in debt because their parents and grandparents were too irresponsible to live within their means. That's exactly what President Obama is doing with out-of-control federal spending.
I'm running for U.S. Senate to help lead the charge to get serious about cutting government spending and our exploding debt and deficit. If you agree, please consider giving $10, $25, or $50 to help us win.
Last week saw Republicans patting themselves on the back for cutting less than 3% of the annual deficit (and even that was through accounting tricks). That was a mistake.
And, even more disturbing, President Obama publicly went on the offensive, attacking these minor Republican cuts as too much. And he made clear that he has no interest in being serious about the budget, giving a national speech that was both dishonest and hyper-partisan—attacking Rep. Paul Ryan's serious and courageous budget proposal.
President Obama's only answer is more and more taxes, and doing nothing to address fundamental entitlement reform and our crushing $14 trillion debt.
As a result of the President drawing the battle lines and refusing to accept the 2010 election results, prospects for any real progress cutting government spending are not encouraging. Indeed, recognizing that reality, the outlook on U.S. Treasury securities was just downgraded to "negative" by the Standard & Poor's credit rating firm—a truly ominous development.
All this reinforces the following points on our nation's fiscal crisis:
- We urgently need to pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that includes limiting federal spending and requires a two-thirds congressional super majority to raise taxes, as Senator Mike Lee has introduced.
- We must make real spending cuts—that means substantially more than a so-called $38 billion spending cut. Eliminating 3% of the deficit should not even be a debate or considered a victory. We need to go much further.
- We must stop President Obama's plan for any tax hikes, including his massive stealth increases on the middle-class.
- As the budget debate rages in Texas, the state legislature should balance the budget without raising taxes or tapping the rainy day fund. There is simply no reason not to make the necessary spending cuts, even while maintaining essential services.
Texans and Americans are ready for strong leaders—committed conservatives—to significantly reduce government spending and to avoid saddling our children and grandchildren with trillions of dollars of debt they cannot pay.
If you agree with our urge for real fiscal restraint, please consider contributing $10, $25, or $50 to join our Senate campaign today. Let's send a strong message to Washington and Austin that it's time to get serious about cutting spending and limiting government.
P.S. You may have seen that we raised more than $1 million in the first fundraising quarter of this year. That shows an extraordinary response to our campaign and gives us tremendous momentum to build on…
by Donna Garner
Remember the fire in the belly that we Texas voters demonstrated on election day, Nov. 2, 2010? Over two dozen new conservative Republicans were voted into the Texas Legislature with 101 Republicans voted into the House. That victory was not because of a particular party but was the result of grassroots citizens getting involved and showing their support for the conservative agenda.
Next after that dynamic 10.2.10 election came a "clarion call for conservative leadership in the Texas House," and grassroots voters began to demand a change -- a conservative Speaker of the House.
Way over 1,700 citizens signed a petition saying they wanted a conservative Speaker because we knew our conservative agenda would be hampered by a moderate-to-left-leaning Speaker since it is the Speaker's job to appoint committee chairmen and to decide which bills get scheduled for public hearings.
Unfortunately, Speaker Straus with his coffers of money (mostly made from his family's gambling interests) was apparently able to "buy votes" for his Speakership.
On 10.10.10, Rep. Bryan Hughes stated:
Today after much prayer and counsel, I formally withdraw my support for Speaker Joe Straus. I do this with no malice toward the Speaker or any other member.
Over the past several days I have heard from an increasing number of my constituents and supporters. Their unanimous voice has called for me to withdraw my support of Speaker Straus.
My decision, though not a light one, was made clearer after a phone call I received over the weekend from a member of Speaker Straus's leadership team. This member brought up the subject of redistricting and explained to me how that process would be used to punish those members not on Speaker Straus's list of supporters.
More specifically, this member told me that maps were already being drawn to get rid of Representative-Elect Erwin Cain (R-Sulphur Springs) and Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van), because they were not on the Speaker's list of supporters.
I was then told that I had nothing to worry about in redistricting, so long as I stayed on the Speaker's list.
This conversation first saddened and then disgusted me.
Using the redistricting process for retribution reminds us of all that is wrong with politics. The Speaker's race should be decided not based on threats of punishment and not on promises of power, but on principle…
Exactly what Rep. Bryan Hughes said about political retribution has indeed come to pass in the form of a personal vendetta directed toward the 17 House members who voted against Straus as Speaker.
The worst part is that it is affecting their ability to get their conservative bills passed. Out of the 17 heroes who voted against Straus as Speaker, only four of them have passed any of their legislative bills.
One of the conservative legislators told me that normally at this time in the legislative session, he has 20 or 25 that he has been able to pass. So far this session, he has passed zero bills because they either are not scheduled for public hearings or he cannot get them voted out of the "Straus-stacked" committees.
The Speaker and his lieutenants are holding the conservative agenda hostage even though we conservatives sent a magnanimous message on election night, 10.2.10.
THE ALL-IMPORTANT REDISTRICTING ISSUE
One of the biggest issues to come up in this legislative session is redistricting because the redistricting maps will determine who gets elected in Texas for the next ten years.
Rep. Burt Solomons is one of Straus' lieutenants and was appointed as the chair of the House Redistricting Committee. His redistricting map for the House (Plan H153) at most would help to elect 82 or 83 Republicans. Today Rep. Joe Nixon and the conservative Republicans submitted a much better plan that would help to elect 99 Republicans.
Solomons' plan would pair conservative Republicans against each other -- Rep. Perry vs. Rep. Landtroop. Both voted against Straus as Speaker. Because of the way Solomons' map is drawn, West Texas could lose three seats. Rep. Frullo of Amarillo, who voted for Straus, is protected on Solomons' redistricting map.
Solomons also paired two other conservative Republicans (East Texas) who voted against Straus as Speaker -- Rep. Flynn and Rep. Cain.
Rep. Driver and Rep. Burkett have also been paired against each other by Solomons; Rep. Burkett is a conservative who voted against Straus as Speaker.
The Democrats have one pairing with Rep. Hochberg vs. Rep. Vo. And Nueces County has a pairing that reflects its drop in population -- Rep. Torres vs. Rep. Scott.
Rep. Solomons' own district has been drawn to be safe for a Republican.
It takes 76 votes on the floor of the House to pass a redistricting bill. This is where we grassroots conservatives come in. We must convince the House members who represent us to vote for "Nixon Statewide House Proposal" because this map would help to elect 99 Republicans vs. 82. (Nixon's plan is also being referred to as Plan 155.)
We need to keep reminding members of the Senate and House Redistricting Committees that Section 5 of the U. S. Voting Rights Act (a.k.a., VRA) says that legislators are:
not obligated to produce a redistricting map that yields a racial quota of elected officials mirroring exactly the state's population. In fact, drawing districts to satisfy a racial quota is expressly prohibited…
The court does prohibit lawmakers from obliterating existing majority-minority districts. And courts may require the drawing of a majority-minority legislative district only if the population distribution meets the three factors in Gingles v. Thornburg: (1) geographically compact, (2) politically cohesive, and (3) a history of racially polarized voting…
The problem the Democrats are likely to run into in Texas is that the civil rights movement is finally beginning to achieve its stated goal – racial integration. Minorities are moving to the suburbs. (Will Lutz, The Lone Star Report, 2.18.11)
The House floor vote on the House Redistricting Map was set by the Calendars Committee tonight for next Tuesday, 4.26.11. Because of the Easter weekend, we need to make sure that we contact our House members this week.
Let's tell them that we do not understand why a Republican (Solomons) would construct a redistricting map ("Plan H153 House Redistricting Committee CSHB 150") that would make it easy for Democrats to be elected whenever the elections of 10.2.10 sent a clear message: Texas is a conservative Republican state, and we expect our Texas Representatives to vote for "Nixon Statewide House Proposal (a.k.a., 155)."
TO VIEW THE HOUSE REDISTRICTING PLANS
To see the House Redistricting plans, please go to: http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us/
1. Click on the drop down list "Select Plans," and select "Base Plan."
2. Click on the drop down list "Plan Type." Click on "House."
3. To see Solomons' plan, click on "Plan H153 House Redistricting Committee CSHB 150."
4. To see the plan drawn up by the conservative Republicans, please go to "Nixon Statewide House Proposal."
I was told tonight that the slots and casino resort gambling bills are all going to be wrapped into one bill which will be pushed out of the House Licensing & Administrative Procedures Committee and sent to the House floor for a quick vote when members least expect it. Please warn your legislators that we grassroots voters do not want an expansion of gambling in Texas.
To read a well-documented report on the reasons we do not want an expansion of gambling in Texas, please go to my article published on 3.28.11 entitled
"Texas To Turn Into Nevada?" ---
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
RPT Chairman Statement on Texas House Redistricting Map
AUSTIN - RPT State Chairman Steve Munisteri issues the following statement regarding today's release of the proposed redistricting map for the Texas House of Representatives.
"I've had an opportunity to examine the recently released, proposed redistricting map and believe that after taking into account all circumstances and factors, that on balance it is a map which I can proudly support."
"The key criteria in making this determination was whether the district lines were fairly drawn, reflected the changes in census data, complied with both federal and state law, and yielded a map which reflected the will of the majority of voters as expressed in the last election. 2010 demonstrated that a substantial majority of Texans supported the Republican ticket, and therefore it has been my position that any new maps, in order to be fair to the electorate, result in a substantial majority of the districts containing a Republican majority. I was fearful that a map that did not meet this criteria could result in a substantial loss of Republican seats. I have been pleasantly surprised that the proposed map affords the Republican Party the opportunity to maintain a solid majority."
"I do note that the map pairs seven sets of Republicans. While this is not an ideal situation for either our party or the elected representatives who are paired, I am convinced that because of the changes in population that it is impossible to draw a new map that maintains a Republican majority and at the same time is legal and fair, without such pairings. I want to make clear that I believe all the legislators who are paired are deserving of being re-elected. I would also point out that it appears to me that for every seat we lose because of pairing, the Republican Party will have an opportunity to elect a Republican in another district. While it is certainly possible that because of the new census data and population changes the Party will have a net loss of seats in 2012, I believe this map affords the Republican Party a fair opportunity to retain the vast majority of its current seats."
"Finally, redistricting is by its nature, a very difficult task which requires many tough choices. With this in mind, I would like to applaud Chairman Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton) for his hard work in preparing this new redistricting map for the Texas House of Representatives. It is a map Republicans and all Texans can be proud of."
To view the proposed redistricting map for the Texas House of Representatives, click on the "DistrictViewer" link below. From that website, use the drop down menu in the upper left-hand side marked "Select Plans" to bring up a pop-up window titled "Select Base Plan". From that window, scroll down to see the proposed map titled "PLANH113 - Rep. Solomons Statewide House Proposal".
Paid for by the Republican Party of Texas (www.TexasGOP.org)