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  88R2141 BEF-F
 
  By: Howard H.B. No. 731
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the reapportionment of state legislative,
  congressional, and judicial districts and the functions and duties
  of the independent 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. INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMISSION
         Sec. 307.001.  DEFINITIONS.  In this chapter:
               (1)  "Commission" means the independent redistricting
  commission established under Article XVIII, Texas Constitution.
               (2)  "Redistricting plan" has the meaning assigned by
  Section 1, Article XVIII, Texas Constitution.
         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 Article XVIII, Texas
  Constitution.
         Sec. 307.004.  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 duties.
         (c)  The Texas Legislative Council shall provide technical
  staff and clerical services at the commission's request.
         Sec. 307.005.  DUTIES.  The commission shall:
               (1)  adopt rules to carry out the constitutional duties
  of the commission and to administer this chapter; and
               (2)  act as the legislature's recipient of the official
  census and geographic data from the United States Census Bureau
  pursuant to the federal decennial census.
         Sec. 307.006.  REDISTRICTING PLAN; FORM.  The commission
  shall include with each report under Section 49(2), Article XVIII,
  Texas Constitution:
               (1)  for each district in the redistricting plan, the
  total population and the percentage deviation from the average
  district population;
               (2)  an explanation of the criteria used in developing
  the redistricting 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.
         Sec. 307.007.  REDISTRICTING PLAN STANDARDS.  (a)  A
  redistricting plan adopted by the commission must conform to the
  standards provided by Article XVIII, Texas Constitution.
         (b)  In developing a redistricting plan, the commission may
  not consider:
               (1)  the potential effects of the districts on
  incumbents or potential candidates for office;
               (2)  the residence of any elected official or potential
  candidate for office;
               (3)  any information involving the past political
  performance of a specific geographic area, except as necessary to
  comply with federal law or Article XVIII, Texas Constitution; and
               (4)  data concerning party affiliation or voting
  history, except as necessary to comply with federal law or Article
  XVIII, Texas Constitution.
         Sec. 307.008.  DISCLOSURE OF DATA REQUIRED.  The commission
  shall make all redistricting plans submitted to the commission,
  including the commission's preliminary redistricting plans,
  hearing transcripts, minutes of meetings, maps, narrative
  descriptions of proposed districts, and other data used by the
  commission available to the public through the commission's
  Internet website and other appropriate means.
         Sec. 307.009.  SUBMISSION OF PLAN.  On adoption of a
  preliminary or final redistricting plan by the commission, the
  commission shall submit the redistricting plan to the governor, the
  secretary of state, and the presiding officer of each house of the
  legislature.
         Sec. 307.010.  OPERATIONS AFTER ADOPTION OF REDISTRICTING
  PLANS.  (a) Following the adoption of all redistricting plans that
  the commission is required to adopt, the commission shall reduce or
  suspend its staff, contractors, and operations to the extent
  practicable.
         (b)  The commission shall prepare a financial statement
  disclosing all expenditures made by the commission. The official
  record of the commission must 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)  The secretary of state shall preserve the commission's
  records as provided by Section 16, Article XVIII, Texas
  Constitution.
         (d)  Any unexpended money from an appropriation to the
  commission reverts to the general revenue fund.
         Sec. 307.011.  CHALLENGES TO REDISTRICTING PLAN.  After a
  final redistricting plan is adopted by the commission, any person
  aggrieved by the plan may file a petition with the supreme court
  challenging the plan.
         Sec. 307.012.  CONVENING 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, the commission shall convene 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 reduce or suspend its
  operations to the extent practicable.
         SECTION 2.  Section 42.032, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 42.032.  REDISTRICTING: BOUNDARY CHANGES. If changes in
  county election precinct boundaries are necessary to give effect to
  a redistricting plan under Article XVIII, [III, Section 28, of the]
  Texas Constitution, each commissioners court shall order the
  changes before October 1 of the year in which the redistricting is
  done.
         SECTION 3.  Section 24.945(e), Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (e)  The legislature, the Judicial Districts Board, or the
  independent redistricting commission [Legislative Redistricting
  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 independent redistricting commission
  [Legislative Redistricting Board] in anticipation of a future
  action by the voters of any county.
         SECTION 4.  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 independent redistricting commission [Legislative
  Redistricting Board] established under [by] Article XVIII, [III,
  Section 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 5.  Section 2058.002(a), Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  The legislature or the independent redistricting
  commission established [Legislative Redistricting Board] under
  Article XVIII, [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 6.  This Act takes effect January 1, 2029, but only
  if the constitutional amendment proposed by the 88th Legislature,
  Regular Session, 2023, establishing an independent redistricting
  commission to establish districts for the election of the members
  of the United States House of Representatives elected from this
  state, the Texas Senate, and the Texas House of Representatives is
  approved by the voters. If that proposed constitutional amendment
  is not approved by the voters, this Act has no effect.