Pete’s Periódico: Redistricting Begins

Originally published on November 14, 2019.
On this recent Veteran’s Day, I was fortunate to spend most of the day around veterans of Senate District 19. Thank you again to all the men and women in the U.S. armed forces, fighting for our country and its liberties daily. The day served as a reminder that it only because of our armed forces do we enjoy this free Constitutional republic. Thank you all for your service.
A key to that Constitutional republic is the decennial Census; an official count of Americans and where they live. That data is crucial to a subsequent decennial event: legislative redistricting. Every ten years, states must redraw legislative districts to fit the new population according to Census results, ensuring each American is fairly represented in his or her state legislature and the U.S. Congress.
In Texas, that means counting our tremendous growth. Over the past decade, an estimated millions of people have moved to Texas––seeking the Lone Star haven of liberty, prosperity, and opportunity. That growth, in addition to newborn Texans, means the district lines drawn earlier this decade are outdated and its time for a refresh.
Redistricting must occur via legislation, passing through the Texas Legislature like any other bill––legislators “draw” maps for Congress, State Senate, and State House to reflect new populations. That will be a primary focus of the 87th Texas Legislature beginning January 2021, but the work begins now.
This summer, I was appointed to the Texas Senate Select Committee on Redistricting. This committee, composed of 17 Senators, will be the origin point for all redistricting in the Senate. We held our first committee hearing at the end of October, featuring invited testimony only from Texas Legislative Council, Texas Attorney General, U.S. Census Bureau, and various redistricting and demography focused groups.
Next year, the Redistricting Committee will travel around the state, holding field hearings to allow the public to speak before the committee and share any comments or concerns. The committee is planning over a dozen of these hearings beginning in March; dates and locations are tentative.
Additionally, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick released interim charges recently. Whether its researching specific policy or monitoring implementation of legislation passed, every Senate committee has interim charges to focus on. Committees will hold hearings to discuss certain charges in detail before the next 87th Legislative Session, seeking both public input and subject-matter expert insight. Look for more information on redistricting and interim charges field hearings in the future.
I need feedback from my constituents to serve you as a Texas Senator in the manner you deserve and expect. To aid in this goal, I ask that you complete an online survey of the issues most important to you and your family. The survey takes around find minutes and can be easily completed via computer or phone by visiting the following link: www.senate.texas.gov/SD19survey.
As always, feel free to call my Capitol office or District office near you with any questions, comments, or concerns. I serve in the Texas Senate to fight for you. Please visit my Senate website for more information: www.flores.senate.texas.gov.
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