Senator Huffman has already filed multiple bills.
Before the redistricting maps were drawn in the 2021 special session, State Senators Sarah Eckhardt and Roland Gutierrez filed a lawsuit to halt the redistricting process until 2023. But, the suit from Eckhardt and Gutierrez was put on hold by the court, which stated it did not want to get involved in such a political case so close to an election.
Eckhardt and Gutierrez’s lawsuit was on the basis that the redistricting maps in 2021 violated the 14th Amendment principle of one person, one vote.
The state agreed with the plaintiffs that redistricting should occur again in January 2023. Lanora Pettit, Texas’ principal deputy solicitor general, asserted in a reply brief.
So, in the 88th Legislative Session, the maps will be redrawn again.
Why is it problematic that this effort is coming from Senator Joan Huffman?
During the last legislative session, Senator Huffman spearheaded the racial gerrymandering efforts like a pro. You can see the highlight reel to your right.
Essentially, there were days of testimony from Texas citizens who were against the redistricting bills. Each person giving testimony said essentially the same things: the redistricting bills cracked and packed the minority neighborhoods in their communities. Not one person ever testified in favor of the last maps.
No matter how often Joan Huffman was told that these bills were racist, she kept responding, “The maps were drawn blind to race.” There was one exchange between Huffman and Senator Boris Miles where she even admitted that the maps would have violated Section Five of the Voting Rights Act if it were still in place.
Huffman stuck to the script and played dumb over the racist maps. Republicans were happy with her performance, which is likely why she is the one introducing new gerrymandered bills for this session.
What do the bills say?
There’s nothing conclusive yet, and there won’t be until new maps are submitted. SB 375 states that it wants to ensure that the rules for creating these districts are followed correctly, as the state constitution requires. It also says it intends to ratify certain previously established districts so they can be used permanently. It also states that it will only apply to the election of the senate members from 2024 onwards, and it does not affect the current senate’s members or districts.
Also filed this morning is SR 2, establishing redistricting rules for the 88th Legislature. However, no text has been filed with the resolution yet.
Until redistricting maps are posted, we won’t know how bad it will be. But, unfortunately, knowing Senator Huffman’s history, we can be assured that whatever maps she presents will be extremely racist, and she’ll feign color blindness.
The GOP will continue to assert white supremacist tactics as long as they’re in charge.
Several Democrats have proposed assigning an independent citizen redistricting commission to draw the maps fairly. However, the GOP will lose power if the maps are drawn fairly. This is why the Democratic bills regarding redistricting have little chance of passing this session.
Seven Democrats have introduced ten separate bills which would end gerrymandering in Texas.
Unfortunately, until congress steps in and passes the John Lewis Voting Rights Act or its equivalent, we’ll have to continue to suffer at the hands of Republican fascists.
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