Governor Perry Calls Special Session To Address Redistricting - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/18/03

Governor Perry Calls Special Session To Address Redistricting

The Texas Legislature is about to tread into territory it has not experienced in more than a decade, a special session.  On Wednesday, Governor Rick Perry called for a 30 day session set to begin June 30th, and the focus will be 'Congressional Redistricting'.

Governor Perry's Letter Calling for a 30 Day Special Session
The letter sent out by Texas Governor Rick Perry to the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House calling for a special session of the Texas Legislature. (You will need Adobe Acrobat to open this document.)
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Last month, during the regular legislative session, more than 50 Texas House Democrats fled to Oklahoma just to avoid taking up the bill. They say the proposed Congressional Redistricting Plan would only benefit Republicans. Some Texas Democrats Wednesday accused GOP Governor Rick Perry of wasting taxpayers' money.

Texas Democratic Party Chairwoman Molly Beth Malcolm issued a statement Wednesday, saying: "Rick Perry and the Republican Party will rue the day they became Tom Delay's puppet. The people of Texas don't want this redistricting plan, and they will hold the Republicans responsible for wasting their tax dollars on a special session."

The current map was drawn up by the courts after lawmakers failed to approve a plan in 2001. Perry says the legislature, not the federal courts, should be responsible for drawing voting districts.

Currently there are 32 districts with 17 Democratic Representatives and 15 Republicans. The proposed Redistricting Bill would change the number of representatives from 17 Democrats to 12, and 15 Republicans to 20.

Right now District 19 runs North and South, including Lubbock, Midland, Odessa and their surrounding counties. Under the proposed plan, District 19 would stretch from West Texas towards Dallas, covering much of North Texas. This could present a bigger challenge to Lubbock Candidates when it comes to winning a Congressional race.

Just weeks ago, West Texans elected its second Lubbock Candidate to represent District 19. NewsChannel 11 talked to Congressman Randy Neugebauer by phone and asked what he thought about the issue.

"The delegation out in West Texas works very closely together so certainly whatever lines are drawn or if they are redrawn, we will be representing whatever constituency is in the 19th District," said Congressman Neugebauer.

Governor Perry also says this special session could be expanded to include other important issues.

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