By: Wentworth S.B. No. 6
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
relating to the reapportionment of state legislative,
congressional, and judicial districts and the creation, function,
and duties of the Texas Redistricting Commission.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Subtitle A, Title 3, Government Code, is amended
by adding Chapter 307 to read as follows:
CHAPTER 307. TEXAS REDISTRICTING COMMISSION
Sec. 307.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
(1) "Commission" means the Texas Redistricting
Commission established by Section 28a, Article III, Texas
(2) "Plan" means a redistricting plan for the Texas
Senate, Texas House of Representatives, or Texas congressional
districts adopted as provided by Section 28a, Article III, Texas
Constitution, and this chapter.
Sec. 307.002. OATH. Before serving on the commission, each
person appointed shall take and subscribe to the constitutional
oath of office.
Sec. 307.003. ELIGIBILITY. The eligibility of a person to
serve on the commission is as prescribed by Section 28a, Article
III, Texas Constitution.
Sec. 307.004. POLITICAL ACTIVITIES PROHIBITED. A member of
the commission may not:
(1) campaign for elective office while a member of the
(2) actively participate in or contribute to the
political campaign of a candidate for a state or federal elective
office while a member of the commission; or
(3) serve as or be a candidate to be a member of the
Texas Legislature before the second anniversary of the date the
commission adopted a redistricting plan for that body during the
member's service on the commission.
Sec. 307.005. OPERATION OF COMMISSION. (a) The
legislature shall appropriate sufficient money for the
compensation and payment of the expenses of the commission members
and any staff employed by the commission.
(b) The commission shall be provided access to statistical
or other information compiled by the state or its political
subdivisions as necessary for the commission's reapportionment
(c) The Texas Legislative Council, under the direction of
the commission, shall provide the technical staff and clerical
services that the commission needs to prepare its plans.
Sec. 307.006. DUTIES. The commission shall:
(1) adopt rules to carry out the constitutional duties
of the commission and to administer this chapter;
(2) act as the legislature's recipient of the official
census data and maps from the United States Bureau of the Census
pursuant to the federal decennial census; and
(3) comply with Chapters 551 and 552.
Sec. 307.007. REDISTRICTING PLAN; FORM. (a) For each plan
or modification of a plan adopted by the commission, the commission
shall prepare and publish a report that includes:
(1) for each district in the plan, the total
population and the percentage deviation from the average district
(2) an explanation of the criteria used in developing
the plan, with a justification of any population deviation in a
district from the average district population;
(3) a map or maps of all the districts; and
(4) the estimated cost to be incurred by the counties
for changes in county election precinct boundaries required to
conform to the districts adopted by the commission.
(b) The commission shall make a copy of a report prepared
under this section available to the public.
Sec. 307.008. REDISTRICTING PLAN STANDARDS. A plan adopted
by the commission must conform to the standards provided by
Sections 25, 26, and 28a, Article III, Texas Constitution.
Sec. 307.009. SUBMISSION OF PLAN. On adoption of a plan or
modification of a plan by the commission, the commission shall
submit the plan or modification to the governor, the secretary of
state, and the presiding officer of each house of the legislature.
Sec. 307.010. CESSATION OF OPERATIONS. (a) Following the
initial adoption of all plans that the commission is required to
adopt, the commission shall take all necessary steps to conclude
its business and suspend operations until the commission reconvenes
as provided by Section 28a, Article III, or Section 7a, Article V,
Texas Constitution, if it does reconvene.
(b) The commission shall prepare a financial statement
disclosing all expenditures made by the commission. The official
record of the commission shall contain all relevant information
developed by the commission in carrying out its duties, including
maps, data, minutes of meetings, written communications, and other
(c) After the commission suspends operations, the secretary
of state becomes the custodian of its official records for purposes
of election administration. Any unexpended money from an
appropriation to the commission reverts to the general revenue
Sec. 307.011. CHALLENGES TO PLAN. (a) After a plan or
modification of a plan is adopted by the commission or supreme court
under Section 28a, Article III, Texas Constitution, any person
aggrieved by the plan or modification may file a petition with the
supreme court challenging the plan.
(b) The supreme court may consolidate any or all petitions
and shall give the petitions precedence over all other matters.
(c) This section does not limit the remedies available under
other law to any person aggrieved by a plan.
Sec. 307.012. RECONVENING OF COMMISSION FOR
REAPPORTIONMENT OF JUDICIAL DISTRICTS. (a) If the Judicial
Districts Board fails to make a statewide reapportionment of
judicial districts under Subchapter F, Chapter 24, unless the
commission is already reconvened, the commission shall reconvene on
September 1 of the year provided by Section 7a(e), Article V, Texas
Constitution, to make the statewide reapportionment as required by
(b) The commission shall complete the reapportionment of
judicial districts as soon as possible within the time provided by
Section 7a(e), Article V, Texas Constitution.
(c) The commission's reapportionment of judicial districts
becomes effective as provided by Sections 24.948 and 24.949.
(d) Following the effective date of a reapportionment of
judicial districts, the commission shall take all necessary steps
to conclude its business and suspend operations in accordance with
Section 307.010. The commission shall suspend operations after the
90th day after the September 1 on which the commission's authority
to adopt a reapportionment plan for the judicial districts begins,
unless the supreme court grants the commission additional time to
conduct its activities.
SECTION 2. Section 24.945(e), Government Code, is amended
to read as follows:
(e) The legislature, the Judicial Districts Board, or the
Legislative] Redistricting Commission [ Board] may not
redistrict the judicial districts to provide for any judicial
district smaller in size than an entire county except as provided by
this subsection. Judicial districts smaller in size than the
entire county may be created subsequent to a general election in
which a majority of the persons voting on the proposition adopt the
proposition "to allow the division of ____________________ County
into judicial districts composed of parts of ____________________
County." A redistricting plan may not be proposed or adopted by the
legislature, the Judicial Districts Board, or the Texas
[ Legislative] Redistricting Commission [ Board] in anticipation of
a future action by the voters of any county.
SECTION 3. Section 24.946(a), Government Code, is amended
to read as follows:
(a) The board shall meet in accordance with its own rules.
The board shall meet at least once in each interim between regular
sessions of the legislature and shall exercise its reapportionment
powers only in the interims between regular legislative sessions.
Meetings of the board shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter
551, except as otherwise provided by this subchapter. A
reapportionment may not be ordered in the interim immediately
following a regular session of the legislature in which a valid and
subsisting statewide reapportionment of judicial districts is
enacted by the legislature. Unless the legislature enacts a
statewide reapportionment of the judicial districts following each
federal decennial census, the board shall convene not later than
the first Monday of June of the third year following the year in
which the federal decennial census is taken to make a statewide
reapportionment of the districts. The board shall complete its
work on the reapportionment and file its order with the secretary of
state not later than August 31 of the same year. If the Judicial
Districts Board fails to make a statewide apportionment by that
date, the Texas [ Legislative] Redistricting Commission [ Board]
established by Article III, Section 28a [ 28], of the Texas
Constitution shall make a statewide reapportionment of the judicial
districts not later than the 90th [ 150th] day after the final day
for the Judicial Districts Board to make the reapportionment, and
that apportionment takes effect as provided by Sections 24.948 and
SECTION 4. This Act takes effect January 1, 2005, but only
if the constitutional amendment proposed by the 78th Legislature,
Regular Session, 2003, establishing the Texas Redistricting
Commission to redistrict the Texas Legislature and Texas
congressional districts and revising the constitutional
redistricting provisions, is approved by the voters. If that
proposed constitutional amendment is not approved by the voters,
this Act has no effect.