Lawmakers in the lower chamber voted on the bill in a 91 to 25 vote late Thursday night. Another formal vote in the House is still needed, and then the bill will return to the Senate for final approval since the House added on one technical amendment.
Potential election dates and candidate filing windows are as follows:
- If all redistricting plans are completed by Nov. 15, 2021:
- Primary Election: March 1
- Runoff Election: May 24
- Candidate Filing Period: Nov. 29-Dec. 13
- If all redistricting plans are completed by Dec. 28, 2021:
- Primary Election: April 5
- Runoff Election: June 21
- Candidate Filing Period: Jan. 10-24
- If all redistricting plans are completed by Feb. 7, 2022:
- Primary Election: May 24
- Runoff Election: July 26
- Candidate Filing Period: Feb. 21-Mar. 7
If the maps have still not been completed by February 7, 2022, then the responsibility for setting the dates will fall on the secretary of state.
The legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 13, was authored by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) and similar to her bill considered during the regular legislative session earlier in the year, though that one was never fully approved by both chambers.
SB 13 lists slightly different dates than Huffman’s earlier bill and also has the caveat that the filing period and election dates will only be set once all maps have been drawn.
While Gov. Greg Abbott did not include the item on the agenda for the special session in July, he added it to the call for August’s special session. Now SB 13 will become one of the first bills to head to his desk since the legislature adjourned at the end of May.
Abbott is expected to call a special session sometime later this year for the legislature to carry out redistricting.
Lawmakers were unable to draw new maps earlier since the Census Bureau delayed the release of the data needed until mid-August.
House and Senate committee hearings on the subject of redistricting have already been scheduled for the days following the end of the current special session and Texans will be able to provide testimony in the committees virtually.
Texas will gain two new congressional seats, and both state and federal districts will need to be redrawn to accommodate the rapid growth in suburban areas.
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.
Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.