The special session that ended Tuesday wasn’t a total loss. On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Perry signed all three redistricting bills that lawmakers sent to him. With his signature, Perry set the district boundaries for the U.S. House of Representatives, the state Senate and the Texas House, his office confirmed. Capitol gossipers had been whispering that the governor might try to find a way to shove state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, into a Republican district as punishment for her filibuster that led to the death of a strict abortion measure in the Senate early Wednesday. But by signing off on the redistricting maps, Perry silenced the rumors that he might veto the new state Senate map and seek to put into place the more Republican-friendly maps passed by the Legislature in 2011.
The governor’s signature doesn’t end the redistricting battle. Several civil rights groups now will try to persuade a federal court that more changes are needed to ensure the maps do not discriminate against minorities.
The governor originally called the first special session of the Legislature to make permanent the interim maps drawn by a panel of federal judges in San Antonio. About halfway into the session, he added abortion and other topics to the agenda.