Texas House gets closer to redrawing its 150 districts

The Texas House and Senate have scheduled public comment hearings for Oct. 4, as the House gets closer to redrawing the chamber's 150 districts.

Now, the President of the Houston branch of the NAACP is saying the civil rights organization is already planning legal action, as the Republican majority works to increase the party's strength across the state, partly by breaking up some minority and majority districts.

SEE ALSO: Texas' 2 new congressional districts added to Houston and Austin in proposed redistricting map

"The argument Republicans are making is a partisan one. That is, they didn't focus on race or ethnicity, but focused just on the voting patterns of people who live in those districts and designed districts to ensure Republicans would get a majority of seats," said Rice University political science fellow Mark Jones.

New census numbers show people of color brought 95% of Texas' population growth over the past decade. Currently, 83 of the chamber's 150 districts are drawn so that white residents make up a majority of eligible voters.

SEE ALSO: Redrawn voting maps in Texas include 38 congressional districts

The newly proposed maps add six more majority-white districts, while the number of Hispanic and Black districts would each drop by three, leaving 30 Hispanic majority districts and four Black majority districts.

"Voter suppression movement is part of this same movement," said Houston NAACP president Bishop James Dixon. "They're not independent of each other. These things are working together to create outcomes that break democracy and disenfranchise people very intentionally and in very biased ways."

Whatever version of redistricting passes will likely remain in place until the next redistricting in 2031.

SEE ALSO: Texas redistricting: Why the person you voted for in 2020 could change next year

"At this point, you have to hop into that DeLorean, go back in time, and vote in the 2020 election to influence who controls the Texas House," Jones added.

After changes to the Civil Rights Act, this is the first year in decades that Texas legislators don't need federal approval to ensure they're not violating civil rights while redistricting.

For more updates on redistricting, follow Pooja Lodhia on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram.
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