redistricting

State of Texas District Viewer / http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us/

Following several out-of-town hearings on the subject of redistricting, the Senate committee is back in Austin hearing various plans for changing the state’s voting maps, which included a plan from Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, who said he borrowed his argument from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

"It concludes by saying -- in essence -- that while the Voting Rights Act may not require the creation of a crossover district, the purposeful dismantling of a crossover district would raise serious questions under the 14th and 15th Amendments of the Constitution," Watson said.

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

The House and Senate redistricting committees have secured a legal team to help solve the challenges that exist with the issue of voting districts.

While the House committee has hit the road to hold public meetings in the Dallas area, the Senate committee held its last state capitol meeting before heading out to their own public meetings.

Sen. Kel Seleger, R-Amarillo, the Senate’s redistricting chairman, said the Senate will be using C. Robert Heath, who he said is one of the most experienced redistricting attorneys  in the United States.

Eileen Pace / TPR

In the first segment:

San Antonio Current writer Michael Barajas documented the events that led to the death of Thomas Taylor while he was in custody at the Bexar County Jail on August 21, 2012.  

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

A leading expert on government from the University of Texas at Austin's Office of Governmental Relations is weighing in on this summer’s special session and if the legislature can expect to see legislation beyond redistricting.

Barry McBee, UT-Austin’s vice chancellor of governmental relations, said there is still plenty of time for various discussions during this special session.

State of Texas District Viewer / http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us/

At the beginning of the special session, several lawmakers representing some of the districts caught up the redistricting fight requested that the hearings be taken on the road, so that those living in these voting districts had a chance to voice their concerns directly.

House Redistricting Chairman Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, said the first of three field meetings will be in Dallas this Thursday, June 6. The next two meetings will be held on Monday, June 10 in San Antonio and Wednesday, June 12 in Houston.

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