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October 10, 2003

Redistricting held hostage?

By Jim Dallas

The plot thickens...

Quorum Report suggests that Lite Guv Dewhurst is holding up a vote on redistricting (HB3) until the House passes a government reorganization bill (HB7). QR notes that Sen. Staples has asked for a vote sometime after 8:15 pm.

To me, this seems a little odd, especially since we've been hearing all day that 4 Republican senators need "persuasion."

Regadless, something odd is going down....

We may find out in about an hour.

UPDATE: It's 9:10, and the Senate is still standing at ease pending a quorum in the House (Lite Guv Dewhurst got up and announced at about 8:20 that the House was seven members short of a quorum). It would be surprising to me if anything else happened for a while.

UPDATE 2: The lead graf in this morning's Statesman reads --

The Legislature did its best to keep Austin weird Friday."

Ain't that the truth! The article also claims that Sen. Mike Jackson, R - La Porte, is back on the redistricting bandwagon. So there is a good chance that the votes will be there for passage late Sunday.

Posted by Jim Dallas at October 10, 2003 07:14 PM | TrackBack


I just wanted to add that Republican Sen. Fraser if FOR SURE a NO vote on this new map. I went down the afternoon to talk to his staff and they say he is very upset with the slicing up of the hill country and (I'm sure) Abilene as well.

Posted by: Karl-T. at October 10, 2003 08:52 PM

And I thought my friday night was not going to be enjoyable :O) HEHE NO quorm

Posted by: Mike at October 10, 2003 09:16 PM

Senate and house at ease until 10 FUN FUN FUN!

Posted by: Mike at October 10, 2003 09:22 PM

It's not too late to email the 4 republican hold outs and encourage their statesmanship!!

Posted by: nate s at October 10, 2003 09:34 PM

It's 10:00 o'clock. Do you know where your Republican House Reps are?

Hint: Boozing it up on Knox Avenue in Big D. Hook 'em.

Posted by: jsaro at October 10, 2003 10:01 PM

rumor has it that cradDICK has just sent a plane to dallas to pick up some members so he can have his quorum.. are my tax dollars paying for that too?

Posted by: missin' doggett already at October 10, 2003 10:21 PM

No, its probably homeland security....well, then, yes it would be wouldn't it

Posted by: Mike at October 10, 2003 10:28 PM

of course!! i feels safer already.

Posted by: missin' doggett already at October 10, 2003 10:44 PM


Posted by: Mike at October 10, 2003 10:50 PM

Senate too. Sunday is the big day. I noticed both the House and Senate adjourned in memorial to a committee staff member who died of cancer. Are they using that as a reason to adjourn or is that normal?

Posted by: chuck at October 10, 2003 11:08 PM

if that's true, i'm sure its awful.. but something tells me the texas-ou game has a bit more to do with it... call me crazy...

Posted by: missin' doggett already at October 10, 2003 11:41 PM

this from the quorum:

The House has adjourned until 2 p.m. Sunday, while the Senate has recessed until 6 p.m. the same day.

The different start times are significant, as Senate Republicans wait to see if House Speaker Tom Craddick can not only establish a quorum but also find the votes to pass House Bill 7, the major government reorganization bill.

At the end of a long day, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) told reporters that they had an agreement with Craddick that he would get HB 7 passed. Until he does, no vote will be taken on House Bill 3, the congressional redistricting bill.

tick. tick. tick..

Posted by: missin' doggett already at October 11, 2003 12:11 AM

Does anyone really think Dewhurst will let redistricting die over this?

Posted by: AC at October 11, 2003 12:15 AM

No, Dewhust won't let redistricting die over this because he's dispute with the house is two-fold. One, he wants the house to pass HB 7 govt. reorganization and is holding redistricting up to apply that pressure which may be the only it is going to happen. HB 7 guts Carol Keeton McClellan Rylander Strayhorn's oversight and authority, which Dewhurst wants for some reason because he fears her running against him or Perry next time.

The other side story may be that he doesn't have the votes to even pass redistricting in the Senate yet. With 12 Democratic no votes, the no votes of Republicans Fraser and Ratliff, he can't affor to lose two more. Both Bivins and Jackson are not inclined to vote for it as per the Stateman this afternoon, and Duncan was very reluctanly for it in his comments on the floor.

Putting this off til Sunday only gives the Democrats hope at either killing the bill in the senate by outright vote, or getting in the range where a fillibuster may work.

As far as the House not reaching it's quorum, there was more to that than just people being out of town, though I'm not at liberty to say. It should just be noted that there was only one Democrat on the floor this evening...

Posted by: Karl-T at October 11, 2003 12:43 AM

Are there any incumbent pairings in this map?

Posted by: AC at October 11, 2003 01:03 AM

Define "getting it in the range where a filibuster may work". My understanding is the only options for defeating it are voting it down outright, breaking quorum, and (in the past) 2/3 to remove a blocker bill. Is there a 3/5 cloture requirement as in the U.S. Senate? (I suspect I haven't heard of this option because the focus has been on options that don't require any Republicans to go along.)

Posted by: phil at October 11, 2003 02:09 AM

I have two questions to makse sure that I am reading the right info.

Is the new plan that just passed the House and currently in the Senate 01374C?

Is the current map 01151C?

Thanks in advance.

Posted by: blank at October 11, 2003 11:44 AM

to Blank:
you've got your plan numbers right ...good job of wading through the confusion of map numbers!

I have a request:
Has anyone got a complete copy of the email Joby Fortson sent out? He's the legislative coordinator for Rep. Joe Barton who emailed out a scathing analysis of the latest map. I can't seem to find a copy of this email on the Internet. I wanna read it in full!

thanks and Go Horns!

Posted by: Another Commie Pinko Liberal Native Austinite at October 11, 2003 01:03 PM

ABC is reporting a snippet of Fortson's love letter. He seems to be fond of exclamation marks:

"As much as we despise her, she cannot be drawn out ... the Queen lives!!!!" Fortson wrote about Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, whose Houston district remains Democratic. He also made jabs at two other Democrats and a fellow Republican.

Barton spokeswoman Samantha Jordan said the e-mail "certainly in no way is reflective" of the congressman's thinking. She said Barton has not decided whether to take any disciplinary action.


Posted by: melior at October 11, 2003 01:37 PM

I really enjoyed the comments made about the changes to edwards district via washington post:

"Chet loses his Killeen-Fort Hood base in exchange for conservative Johnson County," he wrote. "They will not like the fact he kills babies, prevents kids from praying and wants to take their guns. State Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth (R), come on down, you are the next congressman from Texas."

Posted by: mike at October 11, 2003 02:46 PM


I apologize if this has already been discussed, but a question about the redistricting. Yes, I'm trying against the odds to look for a silver lining.

Seems to me that Redistricting - especially aggressive redistricting - works on the principle that you concentrate the other side's votes. Take three districts, two are Dem and one is Repub. Now if you just swap D's with R's in the 2 Dem districts, you can make a stronger Dem district - and a potentially R district - without and risk for the Repubs. But what if you think you're falling short? The aggressive plan would take R's out of the Repub district, and give it to the borderline one. Now you have two lean-R districts, and a solid D.

Now say by Nov 2004, there's some anti-R sentiment, AND a Dem wins the whitehouse with coattails. He could theoretically win all three districts for D's, whereas he could never have won the original R district.

So my question is, do you have a sense of how much this redistricting plan spreads the Republicans thin? Is there any risk for them here?

Posted by: CTDem2 at October 11, 2003 02:57 PM

My sense is that the Republicans may well have overreached with this map, CTDem. The R/D splits are for weak D candidates.

Posted by: Blue at October 12, 2003 01:31 AM

FYI- HB 7 Also known as government reorganization bill is planned as a bit of a bitch slap to Comptroller Whatever-her-name-may-be-today removing some of her responsibilities. In particular this is to pay her back for doing her job and pressuring Perry to pay more attention to the budget deficit. When he didn't she circumvented him and went to the press now its Perry's time to return the favor. These republicans are some sick bastards.

Posted by: Chris TX Dem in DC at October 13, 2003 09:19 AM

AC, I thought you were an expert on Texas politics. Of course there are incumbent pairings.
Frost/Barton (favors Barton)
Neugebauer/Stenholm leans Neugebauer
Turner/Hensarling (favors Hensarling)
Green/Lampson (favors Republican from North Houston suburbs)
Bell/Culberson (favors Culberson, Bell will run in black majority 9th)

Posted by: pc at October 14, 2003 01:12 PM
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