The State House of Representatives tentatively passed a congressional redistricting map Tuesday afternoon that democrats claim unfairly divides districts and poorly reflects the growth of minorities in Texas.
Democrats fought against the bill claiming that it is against the 1965 Voting Rights Act, however the Republican supermajority passed the legislation with ease. The preliminary approval still needs a final procedural vote before it is sent to the Senate for final approval.
Minority growth has accounted for more than 50 percent of Travis County’s population, mostly Hispanic, but the new congressional redistricting map divides Travis county into five separate districts, all Republican leaning.
Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, said the map purposefully discriminates against the minority voice in Austin and fractures communities by weakening their vote.
“You couldn’t have done a better job of carving out minority neighborhoods unless you were a surgeon with a sharp scalpel,” Dukes said.
Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, rejected amendments democrats proposed which would give minorities a stronger voice, claiming the map was fair and legal and would withstand legal challenges.
Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, predicts the map will receive harsh criticism from the Texas Department of Justice and will have to be settled in court.