Category: Government

Supreme Court to hear Texas redistricting case

Friends,

The Texas redistricting case is before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, as the nine justices hear arguments about whether or not the state of Texas intentionally discriminated against Hispanic and black voters when drawing Texas’ congressional and state house maps.

Here is some key information and resources in advance of the trial:

  • Two Congressional, Nine State House Districts Under Review
    To learn more about the seats in question, read this Texas Tribune article that includes maps and a primer about each of the districts.
  • Ten Rulings of Intentional Discrimination in redistricting and voting rights cases, there have been ten findings of intentional discrimination by the Republican-controlled Legislature since 2011. Rep. Rafael Anchia and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus had an excellent briefing last week that discussed these rulings and other critical questions the court will consider. If you missed the briefing, you can watch their briefing here.
  • Will Texas Be Put Back Into Pre-Clearance? A major issue yet to be resolved is whether or not the state of Texas – because of its consistent pattern of discrimination – will once again be required to get pre-clearance by the U.S. Department of Justice before implementing any election, voting, or redistricting laws in the future. Rep. Garnet Coleman and the Texas Legislative Study Group have put out an excellent policy paper on this and other matters related to redistricting.

The right to vote is sacred. Texas Republicans have repeatedly and purposefully disenfranchised voters across the state with discriminatory redistricting maps. We will be closely following Tuesday’s oral arguments, and we will continue to provide updates on this important issue.

Sincerely,

Chris Turner
Chair, Texas House Democratic Caucus

 

House Democrats Proposing Real Solutions…

Rep. Helen Giddings Launches Women’s Leadership Summit
“I am so inspired, motivated and exhilarated,” [Rep. Giddings] gushed. “It was, by all accounts, extremely successful and extremely well received.”

The UTD Foundation co-sponsored the summit, called “Making a Difference — While Rising to the Top,” at which 106 women — half established, half aspiring — gathered April 13-14 at Dallas’ Renaissance Dallas Hotel. Events included top-level, black women telling personal stories of how they overcame obstacles to reach their lofty positions.

 

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez on Gun Violence in Texas Schools
State Representative Eddie Rodriguez and Congressman Lloyd Doggett, both Austin Democrats, spoke alongside a handful of students, teachers and other activists on the South Steps of the Capitol after the march.

“Children shouldn’t have to overcome the fear of being shot at school when they get on the bus in the morning,” Rodriguez said.

Gonzalez: Let’s talk bathrooms, Gov. Abbott (Op-ed)

For the last seven months, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott have obsessed over who uses which bathroom in Texas. While these political games have dragged on, thousands of Texas living in rural and colonia communities lack basic wastewater infrastructure and clean water in their own bathrooms.

This is embarrassing, shameful, and yet another example of misplaced priorities in Austin.

Statewide, approximately 500,000 Texans live in colonias, residential areas that lack basic living necessities, like potable water and sewer systems, electricity, paved roads, or safe and sanitary housing.

To continue reading this story, please visit the El Paso Times.

Giddings: Why is emergency special session ignoring Texas’ student debt crisis? (Op-ed)

AUSTIN — Last month, Gov. Greg Abbott called a special legislative session, declaring, “If I’m going to ask taxpayers to foot the bill for a special session, I intend to make it count.” He proceeded to lay out 19 items for our consideration, including a new “bathroom bill” to regulate local school district policies, a “revenue cap” to regulate local municipalities, and new abortion reporting burdens to regulate local hospitals.

The governor can call us back to work for any time or any reason. He is fully empowered to set the agenda for debate. However, special sessions should be called when there is a pressing need facing Texas families. Because we are operating on the taxpayer’s dime, we should be focused on the urgent problems of our state.

To continue reading this story go to the Dallas Morning News.

Texas Democrats lay out their own special session priorities

House and Senate Democrats on Monday unveiled their priorities for the upcoming special legislative session, including some measures that fall in line with the agenda Gov. Greg Abbott laid out in his call and some that depart entirely from it.

In a joint press conference, Democratic leaders in both chambers vowed to champion the issues “that matter to all Texans,” and to fight for legislation that will protect “our kids, our economy, our health and our communities.” Priorities for the Democrats include school finance reform and reducing maternal mortality — both of which are on Abbott’s list in some capacity. Several other issues, including criminal justice reform and equal pay, are not — and are unlikely to make it to the floor for a vote.

To continue reading this story go to the Texas Tribune.

Special session is sign of state on wrong track: Moody (Op-ed)

Next time you spend hours in line at a Department of Public Safety office trying to get your license renewed, you’ll have something in common with the legislators and staffers coming back to Austin for a special session later this month.

Those lines and this session are both wasteful, senseless situations created by a betrayal of the principles that once drove government in this state.

To continue this story go to the El Paso Times.

Five New Laws that Will Likely Get Texas Sued (Or Already Have)

Infighting, red-meat politics and parliamentary revenge characterized this year’s Texas Legislature. Amid the fray, legislators failed to reauthorize basic state agencies such as the Texas Medical Board, which is why Texans now face the gloomy fate of another 30-day session beginning next week.

With all the dysfunction, you might conclude the Lege is simply incompetent, but it turns out they’re still aces at one thing: provoking lawsuits.

In 140 days, the Lege passed at least five bills that the state will likely be (or already is) defending in court at the taxpayers’ expense. Courts have already ruled repeatedly against Texas in recent years over voter ID, redistricting and abortion access.

To continue reading this story go to the Texas Observer.

Texas redistricting plans ‘lacked process’ and excluded minorities, Dallas lawmaker testifies FILED UNDER

SAN ANTONIO — A Dallas state representative said in federal court that there was a lack of a legislative process during the 2013 special session that redrew some of Texas’ electoral maps under court order.

“As a legislator, when we are trying to solve a problem … generally what we’ll do is bring in people who have a stake in the situation,” said Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas. “I don’t recall anything like that happening in 2013 with respect to redistricting.

To continue reading this story go to the Dallas Morning News.

Rafael Anchia: Six times since 2011, federal rulings found intentional discrimination by Legislature

After federal judges in April 2017 ruled that Texas Republicans had intentionally diluted minority voting strength when they redrew U.S. and Texas House districts, a Democratic legislator said it wasn’t the first time — or even the fifth.

Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas, who chairs the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, posted a tweet saying: “How many federal rulings have NOW found intentional discrimination by #Txlege since 2011? 6.”

Six rulings? We wondered.

To continue reading this story go to PolitiFact Texas.

Israel: Gov. Abbott’s special session is political posturing (Op-ed)

The good news is the Legislature is done, and we finished a two-year budget despite contentious issues like women’s health and so-called “bathroom bills.”

The bad news is Gov. Abbott called a special session to address these same issues again.

I don’t like to needlessly fight, and you may hear the excitement in my voice at the thought of returning July 18 to argue over what the House and Senate could not agree upon. So I don’t expect a different outcome — can you say “definition of insanity?” — but I do expect we will spend north of $1 million dollars for the sake of political posturing.

To continue reading this story go to the Austin American-Statesman.

Special session ‘a failure of leadership,’ Rep. Turner says

DALLAS – State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, said Governor Greg Abbott’s call for a special session next month is a failure of leadership and shows he needs to be more involved in the legislative process.

“The reality is this special session announcement is really representative of a failure of leadership on the governor’s part. He wasn’t engaged at all during the regular session. That was the time to talk about issues and push the legislature if he wants to get things done. He’s just simply trying to seize the spotlight here and trying to get some of the attention back on him,” said Turner during an appearance on WFAA’s Inside Texas Politics Sunday morning.

To continue reading this story go to WFFA8.