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By:  Wentworth                                                    S.B. No. 6  

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT
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 Constitution. (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 commission; (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 duties. (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 population; (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 information. (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 fund. 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 Section 24.946(a). (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 Texas [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 24.949. 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.