Texas Lege: The Shape of Things to Come

Wentworth predicts redistricting disaster

Democrats and Republicans both claim they can reshape the Texas Legislature in 2011, but Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, predicts the next session will be a disaster in one key area – the scheduled redistricting of legislative seats. As the sole Republican in the Travis County delegation, Wentworth gained widespread Democratic support last session for Senate Bill 315, his measure to create a nonpartisan Texas Congressional Redistricting Com­mission. It ultimately failed when Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, switched his yea vote to a nay, blocking the bill's passage and leaving the old, flawed system in place. Wentworth is already predicting that, whatever the results of the November elections, "by June 1, 2011, we will have adjourned, and the Legislature will not have drawn lines for the Congress, the state Senate, or the state House. We will have failed." He argued that the result will be like the abortive process in 2001 and that "a federal court will draw the lines for Congress, and the Legislative Redistricting Board, made up of five Republicans, will draw the lines for Senate and the House. Whenever you have one party – whether it's the Democrats or the Republicans – totally in control of the lines, it's never fair."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

redistricting, election, Legislature, Jeff Wentworth

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