Today is the deadline imposed by a San Antonio court for agreement on redrawn Texas districts. Any further delay, the court warned, and Texas’ primaries could be pushed back even further past their tentative April 3 date.
Word comes from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott this hour that an agreement may be forthcoming on “interim” maps for the 2012 elections. His office released the following statement:
“The proposed maps minimize changes to the redistricting plan passed by the Legislature and, as the U. S. Supreme Court required, makes changes only where necessary. The Texas Attorney General’s Office has worked with a wide range of interest groups to incorporate reasonable requests from all parties to the extent possible without compromising the will of the Texas Legislature. Even though these proposed interim maps aren’t fully supported by all interest groups, modifications have been incorporated based on requests made by all parties. Today’s maps should allow the court to finalize the interim redistricting maps in time to have elections in April,” Attorney General Abbott said.
The proposed House and Congressional interim redistricting maps are the result of an agreement between the State of Texas and the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force – which includes Texas LULAC, MALDEF, GI Forum, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, Domingo Garcia, The Mexican American Bar Association of Texas, and La Fe Policy Research and Education Center. The proposed Congressional interim redistricting map is also supported by Congressman Henry Cuellar. Although the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC), the Black Legislative Caucus and the NAACP have not agreed to support the proposed maps, those maps include modifications that address some of the primary concerns those plaintiffs raised during negotiations with the State. The proposed maps also reflect consensus among the State leadership – including Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and Speaker Joe Straus.
The Associated Press characterizes the revised maps as including “a proposal that would give Texas two new Hispanic congressional seats.”
The Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) released a statement saying it is "amenable" to the proposed maps.
Today, MALDEF and its client the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force announced that they are amenable to the new Texas congressional and state House redistricting plans. The plans come following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Perez v. Perry decision last month, requiring federal judges in San Antonio to redraw the interim court-drawn redistricting plans the State opposed. The San Antonio judges asked that the parties in the lawsuit present plans to which all parties could be amenable, so that new maps will be ready for Texas primaries in April.
The Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force filed suit against the State of Texas in June 2011 in order to secure new redistricting plans that treat all voters fairly and accurately reflect the population growth in Texas over the last decade. The members of the Latino Redistricting Task Force believe Congressional Plan C226 and House Plan H303 meet the criteria the Task Force set forth. While neither plan is perfect, the Task Force feels it is time to move forward with Texas primaries and let the voters decide the outcome under a legally valid map that protects all existing minority opportunity districts (including districts in which African Americans and Asian Americans elect their preferred candidates) and complies with the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution