Texas does not have an independent redistricting commission and is probably not going to get one. But the lawmakers who have been ignoring the idea for years lost one of their excuses: In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court turned back a challenge to Arizona’s commission, saying the voters had the right to take that power away from legislators. Other states have similar commissions. In some, like Texas, lawmakers draw the maps, and there are hybrids in others.
The Arizona case opens the door for voters to take the map-drawing away from the people who are occupationally dependent on the lines on those maps. That’s a fancy way of saying the lawmakers have a conflict of interest when they draw. They’re picking their voters instead of drawing the lines as if they had no interest at all.
Efforts to change the process in Texas have consistently hit the wall. None of the redistricting commission legislation filed during this year’s legislative session even got a committee hearing — much less a vote from the House or the Senate.