State Watch

Texas Democrats sue in effort to block governor from redistricting in special session

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Two Democratic Texas state senators filed a lawsuit this week seeking to block Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and GOP leaders from redistricting during a special session.

The suit filed by state Sens. Sarah Eckhardt and Roland Gutierrez is seeking to require a judge to create interim redistricting plans for the 2022 midterm elections, The Dallas Morning News reported. They argue that the Texas state constitution prohibits the legislature from redrawing district lines until the first regular legislative session following a census.

The provision they reference states: “The Legislature shall, at its first regular session after the publication of each United States decennial census, apportion the state into senatorial and representative districts.”

“The plain text of the Texas Constitution prevents the Legislature from apportioning its State House or State Senate districts in a special session at this time. Therefore, this Court faces the necessary duty of ensuring a constitutional administration of the 2022 Texas election cycle by drawing an interim map,” the lawsuit reads.

As attorneys for the lawyers wrote in their suit, this has not been an issue for the state’s legislature since 1951 as the census has always been published on or before the regular session of the following year.

“That consistent and reliable streak of timely Census data ended in 2020. As a result, partial publication of the census was delayed until August 12, 2021 — after the regular session concluded and approximately 16 months before the next regular session would convene,” they wrote.

They argued that their district had been “malapportioned” and as such they will “suffer immediate and irreparable injury by being forced to vote and reside in malapportioned districts for the State House and State Senate.”

“Plaintiffs request that the Court enter a mandatory injunction creating an interim map that complies with state and federal law in order to hold the 2022 elections in constitutionally sound State House and State Senate districts,” they added.

The Hill has reached out to Abbott’s office for comment.

Tags 2020 Census census count Greg Abbott Redistricting in the United States Texas legislature Texas Senate

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