Crafting your Senate Redistricting Committee testimony

Crafting your Senate Redistricting Committee testimony

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Thanks to our friends at on the Redistricting & Census Committee for the League of Women Voters of Texas, we’re happy to provide this information about crafting your testimony to the Senate Redistricting Committee.

Public comments at the Senate Redistricting 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.

Please also consider including some of the procedural recommendations in your testimony.  These are changes the Committee needs to make to their rules to create a “fair and open” process.
 
Hold Public Input Hearings After the Census Data is Delivered to the State

The optimal time to hold public hearings is after the Census (redistricting) data is delivered to the state, that way a meaningful dialogue can occur between members of the public and the committee, with actual redistricting data in hand.

Virtual committee hearings should be held throughout the entire legislative session
In order to protect the health and safety of both the public and legislators and staff during the pandemic, virtual hearings and virtual testimony should be permitted throughout the entire legislative session and throughout any special session that may follow. The public has the right to be a part of the legislative process.

Provide at Least 14 Days to Review the Maps
Maps must be made public at least 14 days in advance of any public hearings or votes in order to allow sufficient time for the public to review the maps, prepare testimony, and propose alternative maps.

Provide 5 Days to Review Any Changes to Proposed Maps
Any amendments (changes) offered to a map proposal must be presented at least 5 days in advance of any vote to allow for the public to analyze the proposed amendments and advocate for or against them.

Provide an Analysis of How the New Maps Impact Historically Disenfranchised Communities of Color

The Bill Analysis for any map proposal must include analysis of how the proposed map affects the ability of communities of color and VRA-protected language minorities to elect candidates of their choice.

Keep All Documents, Written Communications, Emails, Text Messages and Draft Maps. 

As the legislative committees begin the redistricting process, we expect the entire process — from beginning to end — to be fully transparent to the general public. There should be full disclosure of every aspect of the legislature’s work: data, communications, consultations or proposals, from whatever source. Claims of ‘legislative privilege’ have no place when it comes to redistricting.  District lines should not be decided in a back room.

This is a work in progress site, if you have additional resources that you would like added to this page, please contact us at info@austintech.org

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