Long time, no blog. I’m shaking off a sinus infection that I think was inspired by Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavs and I can no longer remember the last time I shaved, so I’m feeling a little in common with Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins. What can I say, dual playoff seasons get a little weird around here.
In any event, today is the big floor debate for the House passage of the Congressional redistricting map. Expect some fights but since the votes are already in, the bulk of this day will be spent laying the groundwork for future court cases and some minor perfecting amendments. Here’s the slate of maps that are presently loaded on the Lege Council’s site …
C149 – House Committee Plan
C152 – Hughes (1,5 amendment)
C153 – Riddle (2,8 amendment)
C154 – Turner/Davis (statewide substitute)
C155 – Turner/Davis (statewide substitute)
C157 – Johnson (5, 30, 32 amendment)
C161 – Hilderbran (statewide substitute)
C163 – Martinez Fischer (statewide substitute)
C164 – Martinez Fischer (statewide substitute)
C165 – Martinez Fischer (statewide substitute)
C166 – Dukes (statewide substitute)
C167 – Hilderbran (statewide proposal)
C168 – Alvarado (Harris County region amendment)
C169 – Geren (12, 26 amendment)
C170 – Solomons (West Texas amendment)
C172 – Kuempel (15, 27, 34, 35 amendment)
I think we can all predict the outcomes of most of these – the Dem statewide substitutes will go down, as will Eric Johnson’s amendment to the Dallas-area districts. I’ve only had a chance to look at Riddle’s amendment and it seems minor enough that I suspect it will be tacked on. Hughes’ amendment just carves up Wood County differently, so it probably has a shot of being accepted. But I’ve got no idea what to make of Harvey Hilderbran’s statewide substitute. I can’t image that it will pass, but I’m just curious what it does differently. Nothing jumps out at me, so it’s time to do a little homework before the House bell rings at 10am.
Early Update: From Texas Insider …
Texas Insider learned late this afternoon that as part of tomorrow’s Congressional Redistricting Debate in the Texas House of Representatives, a complete substitute will be offered to the Seliger-Solomons Map, known as Plan C149 – or C.S.S.B. 4. House Committee Report. The newly crafted map, known as Plan C161, addresses previous concerns regarding retrogression in Districts 20 & 29, as well as creates a new Hispanic District, paranthetically CD 35, which the House Redistricting Committee did not.
C.S.S.B. is legislative parlance for Committee Substitute to Senate Bill, in this instance, 4.
Plan C161 would be offered as an amendment to the Committee’s plan, C.S.S.B. 4.
According to sources, Plan C161 includes:
26 Republican Congressional Seats 10 Democratic Congressional Districts and is drawn in a manner that will withstand the all-but-assumed court challenge expect predict will be filed over retrogression issues.
Pre-floor bell update: Some early observations on what the Hilderbran substitute does differently in Harris County …
– Downtown goes back to CD18 … it had been in CD29 in the committee map.
– The Medical Center goes back to Culberson … it had been in CD18 in the committee map.
– The CD7/CD18 divide north of Southwest Freeway remains at Shepherd, which means that Culberson would lose a good chunk of geography that is in the Metro rail line planned for the area.
– CD7 gains back a little bit more of Meyerland and – even more surprisingly – parts of Gulfton. Let’s just say that when I shop at the Fiesta on Hillcroft & Bellaire, I will have traversed into his district.
– The Heights is a little more whole within CD18.
– CD29 goes back out to Baytown, picking up more Ship Channel and loses the southern extension beyond Hobby Field.
– Just beyond the Houston area, CD14 sheds much of Beaumont, which should make the election numbers better for Ron Paul and still remain safely GOP in the new CD36 that now includes Beaumont and Lufkin.
10:00 … the opening bell has rung and we’re waiting for all the schoolchildren to get to their desks. In the meantime, a quick perusal of the DFW area didn’t have anything obvious that I picked up on. But they did take out the Lake Como community from CD26 and placed it into CD12. If nothing else, it removes one point that Marc Veasey would easily ding the previous map on. But the broader dilution and fracturing of minority communities in Tarrant and Dallas counties remains.
10:20 … formalities and whatnot (and proclamations for state baseball playoffs) going on on the floor. In the meantime, here’s some hot, steamy election math that I’m guessing Aaron Pena is drooling over in the C161 plan …
CD15 - 2010 Perry 46.5% ... White 51.3% Dewhurst 50.2% ... LCT 46.6% Abbott 55.1% ... Radnofsky 42.9% Patterson 49.6% ... Uribe 47.9% CD15 - 2008 McCain 44.1% ... Obama 55.0% Cornyn 42.2% ... Noriega 55.7% Wainright 39.7% ... Houston 57.6% Price 39.8% ... Strawn 57.7%
That doesn’t mean terribly much for Pena in the upcoming election and it’s probably an open question as to whether the 2010 scenario is replicable in the short term. But it’s as good a map as I think can be drawn for Pena interests. That said, let’s at least see where he lives today. And for good measure, here’s the open district that’s in the new C161 …
CD34 - 2010 Perry 46.3% ... White 51.3% Dewhurst 50.0% ... LCT 46.2% Abbott 56.0% ... Radnofsky 41.5% Patterson 48.5% ... Uribe 48.5% CD34 - 2008 McCain 43.8% ... Obama 55.2% Cornyn 41.2% ... Noriega 56.4% Wainright 36.8% ... Houston 59.4% Price 37.5% ... Strawn 59.3%
10:27 … gametime. SB4 being laid out by Solomons. Looks like Rep. Menendez is the one credited for getting some SSVR and HCVAP improvements in districts like CD20 and CD23. The plan under discussion is C170, so we’re not yet up to the more mysterious C161. There’s already a flurry of amendments-to-the-amendments. Mike Villarreal interrupts Solomons to ask him to restate the improvements that his amendment makes over the committee map.
CD35 … 51.9% HCVAP
CD20 … SSVR goes to 56.3%
CD23 … 54.8% HCVAP
Geren’s amendment (C169) goes through on voice vote. Keumpel’s amendment (C172) is withdrawn. Hughes’ amendment (C152) goes through on voice vote.
Riddle’s amendment (C153) gets an amendment-to-the-amendment (C176) which is approved on voice vote. Solomons notes that there has been some disagreement over the need for this change. It involves 28 people and contains the Exxon world HQ. Solomons moves to table, says it’s overreaching by Congressman Poe. Rep. Fletcher takes the mic to say that a new district (CD8) coming into Harris County seems like overreaching to him. Rep. Harless follows up and Rep. Dutton seems supportive. Could be a Harris Co. delegation vs the world moment on the floor. The amendment (#5) goes down 77-54.
Rep. Johnson’s C157 up next. A quick withdrawal. Rep. Alvarado’s C168 follows. Both of her Harris County Hispanic districts are under 50% SSVR. In fact, CD29 clocks in at 35.5% and 35.3% nonSuspense SSVR, while CD36 clocks in at 42.5% and 42.4%. Anglo numbers look low enough so that I don’t doubt that both districts would elect candidates of choice. But it poses a very interesting question as to what numerical goals are in order for Hispanic opportunities in Harris County. Solomons notes the retrogression in CD29 as a reason for opposition at the same time that the new district is not a Hispanic majority district. Alvarado regroups by describing the districts as coalition districts. Marc Veasey follows up from the back mic, noting that there are other factors that are looked, namely election performance. The motion to table succeeds 94-47.
Rep. Johnson’s C157 is now back up with an amendment to an amendment (C177). It’s acceptable to the author, and hence adopted, as amended. Minor tweaks to Dallas-area districts is all that I see.
Rep. Veasey’s C121 is up. It’s the same plan that didn’t make it through committee. Veasey references an article in D Magazine about the growth in the African-American population in DFW. Not sure if this is the one, but it’s at least a fascinating read on demographics if not. The plan goes down 93-46.
Rep. Alonzo’s C142 is next. It’s another plan that failed in committee. Some lengthy back & forth, much of which had been covered in committee. It goes down 96-49.
Rep. Turner’s C155 up next. Definitely a very different map. Goes down 93-49.
Rep. TMF’s C163 up next. Goes down 92-48. We’re definitely getting into the grinding phase of amendments and substitutes by now. A lot of the arguments are starting to sound alike.
Rep. Johnsons’ C157 is mentioned as next up. It’s a move to reconsider. C178 is the substitute amendment to this. Solomons says it’s acceptable. It’s adopted.
Rep. TMF’s C164 follows. Goes down 94-48. TMF follows with C168. If I’m anywhere near correct on reviewing this, it looks like we’ve only got Dawnna Dukes’ substitute and then we’ll find out what’s in store with Hilderbran’s artwork. TMF’s final plan goes down 95-47.
Rep. Dukes comes up with C166. It’s another take that adds a new Hispanic district to Harris, a true new district to the Valley and something like the MALDEF Hispanic seat to DFW. Of some interest is the amount of Tarrant County in CD6 and a Gulf Coast District 34 that seems like it would be marginal-to-safe GOP. Farenthold’s CD27 would lose some GOP turf in Nueces, so he’d be toast. Ted Poe would also be pushed quite a bit outside of Harris County. Interesting in the way it combines some of the known goals (the MALDEF DFW seat, for instance), with some new ideas. One item that comes to mind in looking at this effort is that I wonder why nobody seems to have gone after the three big West TX GOP districts. The plan goes down 93-45.
Hilderbran’s C161 is finally up. CDs 15, 20, and 28 are his biggest “concerns” since the SSVR don’t seem strong enough. Given how the previous discussions have gone today, I can’t imagine that Hilderbran has enough support to get his map approved. There’s already a line of attack from a duo of rural Reps who express their dislike. Rep. Villarreal piggy-backs by pointing out that there is no whole district within Bexar County. I’ll give Hilderbran this much … it’s an interesting map in that it’s different than a lot of others. But it’s also ugly as sin. It may make some amount of sense in that he’s trying to head off some of the legal challenges he sees in store for the map currently on the floor. But I don’t see how this creation avoids any challenges. C181 is offered as an amendment-to-the-amendment, that leaves the Hispanic numbers alone (in CD23) while improving the McCain numbers in the district (from 48% to 52%). TMF rises against. So if there’s any support out there for Hilderbran’s work, I’m curious to know where it comes from. Unless he withdraws it, we’ll find out soon enough. Solomons up now, motioning to table. Hilderbran withdraws it before it reaches a vote. That concludes the amendments.
We’re now finally addressing the bill itself. Rep. Dukes is up first. Rep. Alonzo follows. Expect the map to go down along party lines, so the rest of the “again’ its” are as follows: Veasey … and that’s about it. Solomons is up to close, and the line at the back mic regoups. TMF is up first. Senfronia and Veasey are right behind him. The perfunctory pre-legal arguments have been made.
The bill moves on to third reading 93-48. I’m guessing the vote for that is tomorrow. Time for a late lunch now.