Redistricting Bill Dead, What's Next? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/15/03

Redistricting Bill Dead, What's Next?

The Texas Democrats in Oklahoma feel they've accomplished their goal killing the redistricting bill. This bill would redraw the congressional districts, ultimately creating more Republican districts.

Democrats say the Republicans gave redistricting priority over education, law enforcement and childrens' issues. As of midnight, the Democrats have nothing to worry about. Or do they?

After four days in Ardmore, Oklahoma, Texas Democrats are ready to hit the road back to Austin. "Now that we have been able to kill redistricting, we are ready to go back and finish the business of the state," said Democratic state representative from Galveston County, Craig Eiland.

Eiland confident during his news conference Thursday, the redistricting bill won't come up again. But according to Texas Tech political science professor, Brian Collins, the bill may still be kicking. When asked if there were alternative ways the bill could be brought up, Collins replied:

"Yes. But the probability is much lower. Then the ball's in the senate's court."

NewsChannel 11 has learned that the redistricting bill has been introduced in the Senate. However, a representative in senator Robert Duncan's office in Austin says, the bill must have 25 Senators in support of the bill; so far, there is only 20.

So what could happen next? "At that point, the Governor can call a special session to introduce it or to deal with it at that point. Or we can take it to the next legislative session," said Republican state representative, Carl Isett.

Isett says the governor has not called a special session for redistricting. And it probably won't come up until the 2005 legislative session. What happens to the bills that die in the House along with the redistricting bill? From here on out, lawmakers will only be allowed to pass Senate bills. For the next two weeks, lawmakers will amend House bills onto Senate bills so bills such as school finance and education can still be addressed.

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