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  88R567 JRJ-F
 
  By: Zaffirini S.B. No. 69
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the establishment of the Texas 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 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 Redistricting
  Commission.
  SUBCHAPTER B. POWERS AND DUTIES
         Sec. 581.051.  POWERS AND DUTIES OF COMMISSION. The
  commission has the sole responsibility to create districts for the
  election of members of the United States House of Representatives,
  the Texas House of Representatives, and the Texas Senate.
  SUBCHAPTER C. MEMBERSHIP
         Sec. 581.101.  ELIGIBILITY. (a)  Except as otherwise
  provided by this subchapter, a Texas voter who is older than 25
  years of age is eligible for membership on the commission.
         (b)  An applicant for appointment to the commission must
  submit an application to the secretary of state.
         (c)  An applicant for appointment by members of the
  legislature belonging to a political party must have voted in that
  party's previous four primary elections.  An applicant for
  appointment as an independent member may not have voted
  consecutively in the same political party's primary election during
  the previous three primary elections.
         (d)  An applicant is ineligible for membership on the
  commission if the applicant:
               (1)  holds a public office;
               (2)  has held a public office in the four years
  preceding appointment to the commission;
               (3)  is running for public office;
               (4)  is working under an elected official;
               (5)  is working for a political campaign for state or
  federal office; or
               (6)  is a registered state or federal lobbyist.
         (e)  A commission member may not:
               (1)  run for public office during the member's term;
               (2)  run for public office during the two years
  following the adoption of a redistricting plan by the commission;
               (3)  work under an elected official during the member's
  term;
               (4)  work for or contribute to a campaign for state or
  federal office during the member's term; or
               (5)  register as a state or federal lobbyist during the
  member's term.
         Sec. 581.102.  MEMBERSHIP AND TERMS. (a) The commission
  consists of nine members chosen from eligible applicants under
  Section 581.101.
         (b)  Eight members of the commission shall be appointed in a
  bipartisan manner by the legislature, as follows:
               (1)  two members are appointed by a majority vote of the
  members of the Texas House of Representatives belonging to the
  political party with the most members in the house of
  representatives;
               (2)  two members are appointed by a majority vote of the
  members of the Texas House of Representatives belonging to the
  political party with the second highest number of members in the
  house of representatives;
               (3)  two members are appointed by a majority vote of the
  members of the Texas Senate belonging to the political party with
  the most members in the senate; and
               (4)  two members are appointed by a majority vote of the
  members of the Texas Senate belonging to the political party with
  the second highest number of members in the senate.
         (c)  The ninth member of the commission shall be chosen from
  among the independent applicants by the eight members appointed by
  the legislature.  The appointment requires at least five votes and
  shall be made not later than the 30th day after the commission
  convenes.  The ninth member serves as a nonvoting presiding
  officer, except that the member shall vote to break any tie vote on
  the final adoption of a redistricting plan.
         (d)  At least one member of the commission chosen by members
  of each chamber of the legislature must reside in a county that is
  not part of a metropolitan statistical area as defined by the United
  States Office of Management and Budget.
         (e)  Commission members serve three-year terms that begin on
  February 1 of the year following the census year. The commission may
  vote to:
               (1)  terminate their terms early and dissolve following
  the adoption of all redistricting plans; or
               (2)  extend their terms as necessary to fulfill the
  commission's obligations under the constitution.
         (f)  The commission shall convene on the first business day
  in February of the year following the census year and at other times
  necessary to fulfill its obligations under the constitution.
         (g)  Vacancies on the commission shall be filled not later
  than the 20th day after the vacancy occurs in the same manner as the
  vacated position is filled under Subsections (b) and (c).
         (h)  If the appointments under Subsection (b) are not made by
  February 1 of the year following the census year, the caucus of the
  political party whose members are responsible for the appointment
  shall appoint the commission member not later than February 11. If
  the commission fails to appoint its presiding officer when
  required, the supreme court shall make the appointment not later
  than March 15.
         (i)  Members of the commission must take a constitutional
  oath of office.
  SUBCHAPTER D. OPERATION OF THE COMMISSION
         Sec. 581.151.  FUNDING AND RESOURCES. (a) The legislature
  shall appropriate sufficient money for the compensation and payment
  of the expenses of 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 to perform the commission's duties.
         (c)  The Texas Legislative Council shall provide the
  technical staff and clerical services that the commission needs to
  prepare redistricting plans.
         (d)  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. 581.152.  PROCEDURE. (a) The commission shall adopt
  its own procedural rules.  The adoption of a final redistricting
  plan by the commission requires at least five votes.
         (b)  The commission shall adopt each redistricting plan not
  later than November 15 of the year following the census year.
         (c)  If the commission does not adopt a plan before November
  16 of the year following the census year, the Texas Supreme Court
  shall adopt a plan not later than December 30.
         (d)  The commission shall submit each adopted redistricting
  plan to the governor, the secretary of state, and the presiding
  officer of each chamber of the legislature.
         Sec. 581.153.  CHALLENGES TO A PLAN. (a) After a
  redistricting plan has been adopted by the commission or the Texas
  Supreme Court, any aggrieved person may file a petition with the
  Texas Supreme Court to challenge the plan.
         (b)  If the final judgment of a state or federal court
  invalidates all or part of a redistricting plan or otherwise makes
  it unenforceable, the commission shall reconvene to modify and
  adopt a new plan before January 31 of the next year.
         (c)  The commission may reconvene on the motion of at least
  four members filed with the secretary of state any time after a
  redistricting plan has been adopted to modify the plan and at other
  times necessary to fulfill its obligations under the constitution.
         Sec. 581.154.  PLAN REQUIREMENTS. To the extent practicable
  to comply with federal law, redistricting plans adopted by the
  commission must be composed of:
               (1)  districts contiguous with one another;
               (2)  districts of nearly equal population; and
               (3)  districts that are compact and convenient, and
  separated from adjoining districts by natural geographic barriers,
  artificial barriers, or political subdivision boundaries.
         Sec. 581.155.  PLAN REPORT. (a)  Each redistricting plan the
  commission adopts must include a report, given to the secretary of
  state, that includes:
               (1)  the total population of each district with its
  deviation from the average district population;
               (2)  an explanation of the criteria used for the
  redistricting plan, with a justification of the deviation from the
  average district population for each district;
               (3)  a map for each district;
               (4)  a financial statement disclosing all expenditures
  made by the commission; and
               (5)  relevant information developed by the commission
  in carrying out its duties, including maps, data, meeting minutes,
  written communications, and other information.
         (b)  The secretary of state shall make a copy of the report
  available to the public.
         SECTION 3.  (a) Except as otherwise provided by Subsection
  (b) of this section, this Act takes effect January 1, 2030.
         (b)  This Act takes effect only if the constitutional
  amendment proposed by the 88th Legislature, Regular Session, 2023,
  establishing the Texas Redistricting Commission to redistrict the
  United States House of Representatives and the Texas Legislature is
  approved by the voters. If that proposed constitutional amendment
  is not approved by the voters, this Act has no effect.