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  Bill proposes bipartisan committee draw Texas congressional districts
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ContributorDFWDem 
Last EditedDFWDem  Mar 02, 2009 02:56pm
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CategoryProposed Legislation
MediaNewspaper - Dallas Morning News
News DateMonday, March 2, 2009 08:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionBy CHRISTY HOPPE / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – A bipartisan committee would be entrusted with the divisive job of drawing congressional districts every decade under a proposal heard in Senate committee today.

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, introduced the bill in the Senate’s State Affairs Committee, which has passed a similar measure twice in the past. Lawmakers have long struggled over the slash-and-burn partisanship of redistricting, and the full Senate has voted previously to create a redistricting commission, but the proposal has never survived long enough for a vote in the House.

In 2003, Democratic lawmakers left the state to deny a quorum to the new Republican majority that wanted to steamroll through a midterm redistricting proposal. The Democrats, after three special sessions, wandered home, and the GOP approved its plan — although it wound up being revised by the federal courts and caused partisan scars for years afterward.

Wentworth said Texas is poised because of population growth to go from 32 to 35 seats in the U.S. House, after the census is certified in 2011.

“We don’t need to see one-third of Democrats camped out in New Mexico, and the rest of us sitting around at night watching Jay Leno making fun of Texas,” Wentworth said.
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