March 31, 2011 - This past week the House passed SB 14, the voter identification bill about which I wrote about recently. House committee work has increased significantly as almost all of the 3825 house bills have been referred. The House Committee on Redistricting also laid out its first map, for the State Board of Education (SBOE) districts.
There are 15 SBOE districts in Texas. The ideal district population for each district under the new census numbers is 1,676, 371. That population is greater than the population of states like Vermont, New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island, North Dakota, South Dakota, or Montana. Because some parts of the state grew faster over the last ten years than others, the districts need to be redrawn so that each SBOE member represents the same number of constituents. All districts must be of the same population to ensure that every person's vote is equal.
The redistricting plans move through the legislature the same way that other bills do. The SBOE map is House Bill 600. The map for the Texas House districts is House Bill 150, and the map for the congressional districts is House Bill 900. Prior to the presentation of the SBOE map, the Committee on Redistricting heard public testimony regarding the SBOE districts. This map and a wealth of other information on the redistricting process can be found on the state's redistricting website at www.tlc.state.tx.us/redist/redist.html. The committee will eventually vote out HB 600, which will then move before the whole House for consideration.
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