Texas Republicans proposed legislation Thursday that would adopt the current political maps, but Democrats promised to fight the effort. Amarillo Sen. Kel Seliger offered a redistricting bill to the Senate State Affairs Committee that would formally adopt interim maps drawn by a federal court in San Antonio last year. The maps for congressional, state Senate and House districts were used for the 2012 election while a federal court in Washington, D.C., reviewed maps drawn by the Legislature after minority groups filed a lawsuit to block them.
After the 2012 primary, that federal panel determined the Republican-controlled Legislature intentionally discriminated against minorities, prompting Attorney General Greg Abbott to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court and challenge the court’s authority to review the maps under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
Seliger throwing out the old maps and formally adopting the San Antonio court’s interim maps would end the litigation.
“The interim maps represent the court’s best judgment as to the maps that would be fully legal and constitutional,” he said. “Enacting these lawful and constitutional interim plans will help bring to a close this chapter of redistricting, enacting these plans will practically ensure that the ongoing litigation over Texas redistricting plans will come to a swift end and bring some surety of the primaries ensuing.”
The Senate Democratic Caucus, the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and voting rights group Common Cause oppose the measure and Seliger’s assertions.