Texas is beginning the process for the 2021 re-drawing of state and federal legislative districts. Starting in the fall of 2019, the Texas House Redistricting Committee is planning Public Input Hearings for the 2021 redistricting across the state. Public comments at the Committee hearings will be used to assist the Legislature when it draws district boundaries. The focus of public testimony is to provide suggestions about improving the redistricting process and information about a region’s unique geographic and demographic characteristics from those residents most familiar with their own neighborhoods. Speaking up about your community is critical to ensuring district lines are drawn to keep your community whole and grouped with nearby communities with similar interests. This ensures that your voice is heard by your elected leaders across all kinds of government decisions.
Why people should testify at the public input hearings:
1. This is your chance to influence the next round of district maps.
2. We need to create a record for future litigation. Remember preclearance is gone, which means gerrymandering is about to get much worse in 2021.
3. We need to call out the problems that were seen in the 2011 round of redistricting to make sure the same mistakes aren't being repeated. A federal judge has already cited these problems in a recent hearing for bail-in, which essentially means that the state has been put under watch. These problems are highlighted in the TX Civil Rights Project's testimony templates (see below).
Guide to Communities of Interest and Nonpartisan Criteria
by League of Women Voters of Texas
Recommendations for a Fair and Open Process
for an Honest and Open Process
by Texas Civil Rights Project
Fair Maps Texas will be holding another series of Fireside Chats to help folks get ready for the upcoming legislative session. There are a lot of moving parts right now with the redistricting timeline, since the Census operations are still up in the air. We want to do our best, though, to help everyone prepare and participate in the legislative process, whether that be advocating for legislation or for fair maps. We aim to present info that will help people build an effective campaign for the upcoming redistricting cycle.
September 21, 7 PM - Legislative Engagement Strategy, Daphne Spraitzar, League of Women Voters Comal County
Daphne worked as a legislative advocate for the Army and helped people engage with legislative offices. She will be sharing insights into how to have a successful meeting with legislative staffers.
September 28, 7 PM - Passing Local Resolutions in Support of Legislative Redistricting Reform, Judy Ackerman, League of Women Voters of El Paso
Judy organized efforts to get 4 local resolutions passed in El Paso County and El Paso City Council. She will be walking you through the process that the El Paso Fair Maps group used to accomplish this and will be sharing insights she learned along the way.
October 5, 7 PM - Base Building and Identifying Communities of Interest, Lydia Ozuna, Texans Against Gerrymandering and the League of Women Voters of Fort Bend
Lydia has put together her own group called Texas Against Gerrymandering. They are located on the west side of Houston, near the Fort Bend area, and they have been very successful at engaging with local community members. She will be sharing more about how they approach/find new members and how they manage to keep folks engaged.
October 12, 7 PM - Tentative Hold on this date. We may reschedule to a later date. Refresher on How to Prepare Testimony for the Public Input Hearings