Special Session
1:52 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Republicans Attach Redistricting Maps To Another Bill To Get Them Out Of Committee

A bill that would’ve decided the fate of voting maps for members of the Texas House initially failed to pass because of several extended phone conversations.

After waiting for over 15 minutes for Republican members to return to the hearing for a vote, an order was given to find the missing representatives.  

After a vote was cast, Rep Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, who is the committee chairman, asked to be excused to check the back offices for the missing Republicans.

"It was my fault, I should have checked to make sure everyone was seated when we took a vote on the House redistricting maps and two members had excused themselves," Darby said.

Delays could not spare the Republican-heavy voting maps from a vote and the bill failed on a vote of 9 to 5 in committee, but when the Republican members returned, Darby attached the failed bill to another that was still awaiting a vote.

When Darby did that, Democrats on the committee like Rep. Sefronia Thompson, D-Houston, took issue with the Republican tactics.

"If it contains what we have just voted down in House Bill 3, mister chairman, how is that? [It] looks like to me there is a problem with us taking a vote on that because it contains an aspect in which the committee had voted down," Thompson said.

Rep. Yvonne Davis, D-Dallas, said in the committee hearing that the move violated the Texas Constitution, but despite Democrats best efforts, the failed bill passed as a part of another measure.

Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, was left frustrated and exhausted by the rules some Republicans are playing by during the special session.

"The only members that were eligible to make the motion to reconsider were not willing to do so, and so is it proper to advance another proposal that contains another defeated proposal within it?" he asked.

All three redistricting maps are up for a vote before the full Texas House this Thursday.