DALLAS — State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) is inviting the public to attend a joint public hearing on the subject of redistricting. The Senate Select Committee on Redistricting will meet Monday – September 20, 2010, at noon in the Central Jury Room of the George Allen Courthouse building, 600 Commerce St. in downtown Dallas.
The purpose of this hearing is to receive public testimony and input before a combined panel of the House Committee on Redistricting, the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence and the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting. The Dallas hearing is one of several scheduled to take place across the state. Legislators from throughout Texas will take part in these hearings.
“Redistricting directly impacts each citizen’s ability to elect a candidate of their choice to serve as their voice in the legislature or in Congress,” said Senator West. “For that reason, it is critical that these committees hear from the public now, as they begin their work. I cannot overemphasize the importance of this issue. This is a rare opportunity for the public to become engaged. Redistricting happens only once a decade, but its ramifications could have impact for years to come.”
Section 28, Article III, of the Texas Constitution, requires that the legislature apportion the state into senate and representative districts following the release of the federal decennial census information. In addition, the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives apportioned to each state is determined after each census by a mathematical formula set by federal law based on population. The state legislature then draws the appropriate number of districts to accommodate any changes required by that formula. Because 2010 is a census year, the Texas Legislature will take up these tasks during its next session, which begins in January 2011.