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  By: Talarico H.B. No. 21
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the Texas Independent Citizen Redistricting
  Commission.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  The heading to Title 5, Government Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
  TITLE 5. OPEN GOVERNMENT; ETHICS; REDISTRICTING
         SECTION 2.  Title 5, Government Code, is amended by adding
  Subtitle C to read as follows:
  SUBTITLE C. REDISTRICTING
  CHAPTER 581. TEXAS INDEPENDENT CITIZEN REDISTRICTING COMMISSION
  SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS
         Sec. 581.001.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
               (1)  "Census year" means a calendar year in which the
  United States decennial census is taken.
               (2)  "Commission" means the Texas Independent Citizen
  Redistricting Commission.
               (3)  "Immediate family member" means a person's spouse,
  parent, child, sibling, in-law, or other individual with whom the
  person has a bona fide family relationship established through
  blood or legal relation.
               (4)  "Majority party" means, with respect to a
  commission member, the political party with the most total votes
  cast in the four statewide primary elections preceding the member's
  appointment.
               (5)  "Minority party" means, with respect to a
  commission member, the political party with the second highest
  number of total votes cast in the four statewide primary elections
  preceding the member's appointment.
               (6)  "Statewide primary election" means an election
  held by a political party to select its nominee for governor or for
  president of the United States. The term does not include a runoff
  primary election.
         Sec. 581.002.  REDISTRICTING AUTHORITY. The Texas
  Independent Citizen Redistricting Commission exercises the
  legislative authority of this state to adopt redistricting plans
  for the election of the members of the United States House of
  Representatives elected from this state, the members of the Texas
  Senate, the members from the Texas House of Representatives, and
  the members of the State Board of Education. A plan for districts
  may be established or modified only by the commission as provided by
  this chapter.
  SUBCHAPTER B. MEMBERSHIP; POWERS AND DUTIES
         Sec. 581.051.  COMMISSION. (a) Not later than December 31
  of each census year, the members of the Texas Independent Citizen
  Redistricting Commission shall be appointed and the commission
  shall commence the redistricting process for the election of the
  members of the United States House of Representatives elected from
  this state, the members of the Texas Senate, the members from the
  Texas House of Representatives, and the members of the State Board
  of Education in connection with the census taken that year.
         (b)  The commission members shall:
               (1)  conduct an open and transparent process enabling
  full public consideration of, and comment on, the drawing of
  district lines;
               (2)  draw district lines according to the redistricting
  criteria specified in this chapter; and
               (3)  conduct themselves with integrity and fairness.
         (c)  The selection process for commission members is
  designed to produce a commission that is independent from
  legislative influence and reasonably representative of this
  state's diversity.
         (d)  The commission consists of 14 members as follows:
               (1) five majority party members, each of whom:
                     (A)  voted in at least two of the statewide
  primary elections in the five years preceding the member's
  appointment held by the majority party;
                     (B)  did not vote in any of the four statewide
  primary elections preceding the member's appointment held by a
  political party other than the majority party; and
                     (C)  voted in at least two of the three general
  elections preceding the member's appointment in which the office of
  governor or president of the United States appeared on the ballot;
               (2)  five minority party members who:
                     (A)  voted in at least two of the statewide
  primary elections in the five years preceding the member's
  appointment held by the minority party;
                     (B)  did not vote in any of the four statewide
  primary elections preceding the member's appointment held by a
  political party other than the minority party; and
                     (C)  voted in at least two of the three general
  elections preceding the member's appointment in which the office of
  governor or president of the United States appeared on the ballot;
  and
               (3)  four independent members who:
                     (A)  did not vote in any statewide primary
  elections in the five years preceding the member's appointment; and
                     (B)  voted in at least two of the three general
  elections preceding the member's appointment in which the office of
  governor or president of the United States appeared on the ballot.
         Sec. 581.052.  TERM OF OFFICE. The term of office of each
  commission member expires at the time the first commission member
  is appointed in the next census year.
         Sec. 581.053.  QUORUM AND VOTING. Nine commission members
  constitute a quorum. The affirmative vote of at least nine
  commission members is required for any official commission action.
  Each final redistricting map must be approved by the affirmative
  vote of at least nine commission members, including at least three
  majority party members, at least three minority party members, and
  at least three independent members, as provided by Section
  581.051(d).
         Sec. 581.054.  PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES. A commission member
  is ineligible for a period of 10 years beginning on the date of
  appointment to hold a federal, state, or county office elected from
  this state. A commission member is ineligible for a period of five
  years beginning on the date of appointment to:
               (1)  hold an appointed federal office representing this
  state;
               (2)  hold an appointed state or local office in this
  state;
               (3)  serve as a paid employee of or as a paid consultant
  to:
                     (A)  a member of the United States Congress
  elected from this state;
                     (B)  the legislature; or
                     (C)  a member of the legislature; or
               (4)  register as a lobbyist in this state.
         Sec. 581.055.  APPLICATIONS. (a) Not later than January 1
  of each census year, the state auditor shall initiate an
  application process for commission members.
         (b)  The process must be open to all registered voters of
  this state and promote a diverse and qualified applicant pool.
         Sec. 581.056.  APPLICANT REVIEW PANEL. (a) The state
  auditor shall establish an applicant review panel consisting of
  three interested citizens to screen applicants. The state auditor
  shall randomly draw the names of three interested citizens from a
  pool consisting of all citizens who have applied under procedures
  established by the state auditor to serve on the applicant review
  panel. The state auditor shall draw until the names of three
  interested citizens have been drawn, including:
               (1)  one who would qualify as a majority party member of
  the commission under Section 581.051(d)(1);
               (2)  one who would qualify as a minority party member of
  the commission under Section 581.051(d)(2); and
               (3)  one who would qualify as an independent member of
  the commission under Section 581.051(d)(3).
         (b)  After the drawing under Subsection (a), the state
  auditor shall notify the three citizens whose names have been drawn
  that they have been selected to serve on the panel. If any of the
  three citizens decline to serve on the panel, the state auditor
  shall resume the random drawing until three citizens who meet the
  requirements of Subsection (a) have agreed to serve on the panel.
         (c)  An individual may not serve on the panel if the
  individual has a conflict of interest described by Section 581.057.
         Sec. 581.057.  CONFLICTS OF INTEREST. (a) The state auditor
  shall remove an applicant with a conflict of interest from the
  applicant pool, including an applicant:
               (1)  who at any point during the 10 years preceding the
  application date:
                     (A)  was appointed or elected to, or was a
  candidate for, federal or state office;
                     (B)  served as an officer, employee, or paid
  consultant of a political party or of the campaign committee of a
  candidate for elective federal or state office;
                     (C)  served as an elected or appointed member of a
  political party's executive committee;
                     (D)  was a registered lobbyist;
                     (E)  served as a paid staff member for the United
  States Congress; or
                     (F)  contributed at least $2,000 or the amount
  provided by Subsection (b) to any congressional or state candidate
  for elective public office in any year;
               (2)  with an immediate family member who would be
  disqualified as an applicant under Subdivision (1); or
               (3)  who is an employee of, a consultant to, party to a
  contract with, or an immediate family member of the governor, a
  member of the legislature, or a member of the United States
  Congress.
         (b)  On January 1 of each year ending in the numeral 9, the
  contribution amount prescribed by Subsection (a)(1)(F) is
  increased or decreased by an amount equal to the amount prescribed
  by that paragraph on December 31 of the preceding year multiplied by
  the percentage increase or decrease during the preceding decade in
  the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), U.S. City
  Average, as published by the United States Bureau of Labor
  Statistics or its successor in function.
         Sec. 501.058.  SELECTION OF APPLICANT SUBPOOLS. (a) After
  removing individuals with conflicts of interest from the applicant
  pool under Section 581.057, the state auditor shall, not later than
  August 1 of each census year, publicize the names of individuals in
  the applicant pool.
         (b)  From the applicant pool described by Subsection (a), the
  applicant review panel shall select:
               (1)  a majority subpool consisting of 20 of the most
  qualified applicants who would qualify as majority party members
  under Section 581.051(d)(1);
               (2)  a minority subpool consisting of 20 of the most
  qualified applicants who would qualify as minority party members
  under Section 581.051(d)(2); and
               (3)  an independent subpool consisting of 20 of the
  most qualified applicants who would qualify as independent members
  under Section 581.051(d)(3).
         (c)  The applicant review panel shall select the members of
  the applicant subpools based on relevant analytical skills, ability
  to be impartial, and appreciation for this state's diverse
  demographics and geography.
         (d)  Not later than October 1 of each census year, the
  applicant review panel shall present the members of the applicant
  subpools to the caucus leaders of the majority party and minority
  party of each house of the legislature as described by Section
  581.059.
         (e)  Before presenting the applicant subpools as provided by
  Subsection (d), a member of the applicant review panel may not
  communicate with:
               (1)  a member, or a representative of a member, of the
  United States Congress, the Texas Legislature, or the State Board
  of Education about any matter related to the selection process; or
               (2)  a member of the applicant pool.
         Sec. 581.059.  STRIKES BY CAUCUS LEADERS. (a) Not later
  than November 15 of each census year, the caucus leaders of the
  majority party and minority party of each house of the legislature
  may each strike up to two applicants from each applicant subpool
  under Section 581.058(b), for a total of eight possible strikes per
  applicant subpool.
         (b)  After all strikes have been made as provided by
  Subsection (a), the caucus leaders shall present the remaining
  members of each applicant subpool to the state auditor.
         Sec. 581.060.  DRAWING TO SELECT FIRST EIGHT COMMISSION
  MEMBERS. Not later than November 20 of each census year, the state
  auditor shall select the first eight members of the commission by
  randomly drawing:
               (1)  three applicants from the majority subpool who
  were not struck under Section 581.059;
               (2)  three applicants from the minority subpool who
  were not struck under Section 581.059; and
               (3)  two applicants from the independent subpool who
  were not struck under Section 581.059.
         Sec. 581.061.  APPOINTMENT OF SECOND SIX COMMISSION MEMBERS.
  (a) Not later than December 31 of each census year, the eight
  commission members selected under Section 581.060 shall review the
  remaining names in each applicant subpool and appoint to the
  commission:
               (1)  two remaining applicants from the majority subpool
  who were not struck under Section 581.059;
               (2)  two remaining applicants from the minority subpool
  who were not struck under Section 581.059; and
               (3)  two remaining applicants from the independent
  subpool who were not struck under Section 581.059.
         (b)  An appointment under Subsection (a) must be approved by
  at least five affirmative votes of commission members selected
  under Section 581.060, including at least two votes of commission
  members drawn from the majority subpool, at least two votes of
  commission members drawn from the minority subpool, and at least
  one vote of a commission member drawn from the independent subpool.
         (c)  In making appointments under Subsection (a), the
  commission members shall ensure that the commission reflects this
  state's diversity, including racial, ethnic, geographic, and
  gender diversity. However, the legislature does not intend that
  formulas or specific ratios be applied for this purpose.
         (d)  Appointments under Subsection (a) shall also be made
  based on relevant analytical skills and the ability to be
  impartial.
  SUBCHAPTER C. ORGANIZATION OF COMMISSION
         Sec. 581.101.  OFFICERS. The commission shall select by a
  vote of at least two-thirds of its members one member as chair and
  one member as vice chair. The chair and vice chair may not both be
  majority party members, minority party members, or independent
  members as described by Section 581.051(d).
         Sec. 581.102.  REMOVAL OF COMMISSION MEMBER. (a) After
  having been served written notice and provided with an opportunity
  for a response, a commission member may be removed by the governor
  with the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the senate for
  substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office, or
  inability to discharge the duties of office.
         (b)  A commission member removed for substantial neglect of
  duty or gross misconduct in office may be referred to the attorney
  general for criminal investigation or to an appropriate
  administrative agency for investigation.
         Sec. 581.103.  VACANCY. (a) A vacancy on the commission
  shall be filled, not later than the 30th day after the date the
  vacancy occurs, by appointment by the commission of a remaining
  applicant who was not struck under Section 581.059 from the same
  applicant subpool as the vacating member.
         (b)  If a vacancy on the commission occurs and no applicant
  from the same applicant subpool as the vacating member is available
  for appointment to the commission, the state auditor and an
  applicant review panel shall solicit and select an appropriate
  number of new applicants for the applicable subpool using, to the
  extent practicable, the procedures provided by Sections 581.055,
  581.056, 581.057, and 581.058(a)-(c) but disregarding the
  deadlines provided by those sections. The commission shall fill
  the vacancy as soon as practicable by appointment of one of the new
  applicants described by this subsection.
         Sec. 581.104.  BUDGET. The legislature may appropriate to
  the state auditor, the secretary of state, and the commission
  amounts sufficient to implement the redistricting process required
  by this chapter.
  SUBCHAPTER D. COMMISSION POWERS AND DUTIES
         Sec. 581.151.  REDISTRICTING PLAN; STANDARDS. (a) The
  commission shall establish districts described by Section 581.002
  through a mapping process using the following criteria in the
  following order of priority:
               (1)  districts must comply with the United States
  Constitution;
               (2)  districts must achieve population equality as
  nearly as is practicable;
               (3)  districts must comply with the federal Voting
  Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C. Section 10101 et seq.);
               (4)  districts must be geographically contiguous;
               (5)  the geographic integrity of each municipality,
  county, local neighborhood, and local community of interest must be
  respected in a manner that minimizes its division to the extent
  possible without violating the requirements of any of the preceding
  subdivisions; and
               (6)  to the extent practicable and to the extent that
  compliance with this subdivision does not preclude compliance with
  any of the preceding subdivisions, districts must be drawn to
  encourage geographical compactness so that nearby areas of
  population are not bypassed for more distant areas of population.
         (b)  For purposes of Subsection (a)(5), a community of
  interest is a contiguous population that shares common social and
  economic interests that should be included within a single district
  for purposes of that population's effective and fair
  representation. Communities of interest may not be determined based
  on relationships with political parties, incumbents, or political
  candidates.
         (c)  The place of residence of any incumbent or political
  candidate may not be considered in the creation of a map. Districts
  may not be drawn for the purpose of favoring or discriminating
  against an incumbent, political candidate, or political party.
         (d)  Commissioners must start from scratch and not redraw
  based on the existing district lines.
         (e)  Not later than September 15 of each year following a
  census year, the commission shall approve a final map that sets
  forth the boundary lines of the districts for the election of the
  members of the United States House of Representatives elected from
  this state, the Texas Legislature, and the State Board of
  Education. On approval, the commission shall certify each final map
  to the secretary of state.
         (f)  The commission shall issue, with the final map, a report
  that explains the basis on which the commission made its decisions
  in achieving compliance with the criteria listed in Subsection (a)
  and shall include definitions of the terms and standards used in
  drawing the final map.
         (g)  If the commission fails to approve a final map with the
  vote and by the date required by this section, the secretary of
  state shall immediately petition the Texas Supreme Court for an
  order directing the appointment of special masters to adjust the
  boundary lines of the districts required to be included in that map
  in accordance with the redistricting criteria and requirements
  provided by Subsections (a), (b), and (c). On approval of the
  special masters' map, the Texas Supreme Court shall certify the map
  to the secretary of state and the map constitutes the certified
  final map for the districts included in the map.
         (h)  The boundary lines of the districts contained in a
  certified final map apply beginning with the next statewide general
  election and any corresponding primary elections.
         Sec. 581.152.  OPEN MEETINGS. (a) The commission is a
  governmental body for purposes of Chapter 551.
         (b)  Notwithstanding Chapter 551, the secretary of state
  must post notice on the secretary of state's Internet website of a
  meeting of the commission for at least:
               (1)  14 days before the date of a meeting, other than a
  meeting described by Subdivision (2); or
               (2)  three days before the date of a meeting held in
  September of a year following a census year.
         (c)  Except in a closed meeting authorized by Subchapter D,
  Chapter 551, a member or employee of the commission may not
  communicate with or knowingly receive communications about a
  redistricting matter from anyone outside of an open meeting.
         Sec. 581.153.  PUBLIC INFORMATION. (a) The commission is a
  governmental body for purposes of Chapter 552.
         (b)  The commission shall post information relating to
  redistricting and all data considered by the commission in a manner
  that ensures immediate and widespread public access.
         Sec. 581.154.  EMPLOYEES AND CONTRACTORS. (a) The
  commission may hire employees and hire or contract with legal
  counsel and consultants as needed in the manner provided by this
  section.
         (b)  The commission must make hiring, removal, or
  contracting decisions for employees, legal counsel, and
  consultants by the affirmative vote of at least nine members,
  including at least three majority party members, at least three
  minority party members, and at least three independent members as
  described by Section 581.051(d).
         (c)  The commission shall ensure that at least one of the
  legal counsel hired by the commission has demonstrated extensive
  experience and expertise in implementing and enforcing the federal
  Voting Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C. Sec. 10101 et seq.).
         (d)  The commission shall establish for individuals
  described by Subsection (a):
               (1)  clear criteria for hiring and removal;
               (2)  communication protocols; and
               (3)  a code of conduct.
         (e)  To the extent practicable, the commission shall avoid
  selecting employees, legal counsel, or consultants who would be
  disqualified from commission membership because of a conflict of
  interest described by Section 581.057(a).
         Sec. 581.155.  PUBLIC OUTREACH. (a) The commission shall
  establish and implement an open hearing process for public input
  and deliberation that is subject to public notice and promoted
  through a thorough outreach program to solicit broad public
  participation in the redistricting public review process.
         (b)  The hearing process must include hearings to receive
  public input before the commission draws any maps and hearings
  following the drawing and display of any commission maps. In
  addition, the commission shall supplement hearings with other
  appropriate activities to further increase opportunities for the
  public to observe and participate in the review process.
         (c)  The commission shall hold a public hearing in each
  proposed congressional district and display maps for public comment
  in a manner designed to achieve the widest public access reasonably
  possible.
         (d)  The commission shall publicly display a preliminary map
  for all districts and shall accept public comment for at least 14
  days after the date the preliminary map is first publicly
  displayed. The commission may not display any other maps for public
  comment during that 14-day period.
         (e)  The commission shall review all public comment and other
  testimony received at each hearing and make any necessary revisions
  before approving a final map.
         (f)  A hearing conducted under this section must be recorded
  on videotape or a functionally similar and widely available medium
  and made publicly available with accessible audio and video
  accommodations on the legislature's Internet website not later than
  48 hours after the hearing.
         Sec. 581.156.  LEGAL CHALLENGE. (a) The commission has sole
  standing to defend a legal challenge to a final map certified under
  Section 581.151 before a court other than the Texas Supreme Court or
  a court of appeals. The legislature may provide adequate funding
  and other resources to the commission to defend a certified final
  map. The attorney general shall, at the commission's request,
  represent the commission in defense of a certified final map. The
  commission may, in its sole discretion, retain legal counsel other
  than the attorney general to represent the commission in defense of
  a certified final map before a court other than the supreme court or
  a court of appeals.
         (b)  Any registered voter in this state may file a petition
  for a writ of mandamus or writ of prohibition, not later than the
  45th day after a final map is certified to the secretary of state,
  to bar the secretary of state from implementing the map on the
  grounds that the map violates the Texas Constitution, the United
  States Constitution, or any federal or state statute.
         (c)  If the court determines that a final certified map
  violates the Texas Constitution, the United States Constitution, or
  any federal or state statute, the court shall fashion the relief
  that the court deems appropriate, including the relief described by
  Section 581.151(f).
  SUBCHAPTER E. ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT AND OTHER RESOURCES
         Sec. 581.201.  ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT BY SECRETARY OF STATE.
  Following the appointment of new commission members in each census
  year, the secretary of state shall provide administrative support
  to the commission until the commission's staff and office are fully
  functional.
         Sec. 581.202.  PER DIEM AND EXPENSES. (a) A commission
  member is entitled to a per diem of $300 or the amount provided by
  Subsection (b) for each day the member is engaged in commission
  business.
         (b)  On January 1 of each census year the per diem amount
  prescribed by Subsection (a) is increased or decreased by an amount
  equal to the amount prescribed by that subsection on December 31 of
  the preceding year multiplied by the percentage increase or
  decrease during the preceding decade in the Consumer Price Index
  for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), U.S. City Average, as published by
  the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics or its successor in
  function.
         (c)  A commission member is eligible for reimbursement of
  expenses incurred in connection with the member's performance of
  duties under this chapter.
         (d)  For purposes of calculating expense reimbursement, a
  member's residence is considered to be the member's place of
  employment.
         SECTION 3.  Section 2058.002(a), Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  The legislature, The Texas Independent Citizen
  Redistricting Commissionor the Legislative Redistricting Board
  underSection 28,Article III, [Section 28, of the] Texas
  Constitution, may officially recognize or act on a federal
  decennial census before September 1 of the year after the calendar
  year during which the census was taken.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect January 1, 2024.