Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 150
By: Jones, Delwin


Section 28, Article III, Texas Constitution, requires that the legislature
apportion the state into senate and representative districts following the
release of the federal decennial census.  Additionally, the United States
Supreme Court has ruled that under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th
Amendment of the United States Constitution state legislative districts
must be substantially equal in population.  This is sometimes referred to
as the one-person, one-vote principle.  Further refinement of this
principle has led to the creation of the so-called 10 percent rule for
legislative districts.  If the difference between the population of largest
and smallest districts in a legislative redistricting plan is less than 10
percent, the state is not required to provide further justification for the
difference in a court challenge under the one-person, onevote principle.
If the difference in population of the largest and smallest districts in
the plan is more than 10 percent, a justification is required.  Courts have
been unwilling to accept any justification when the difference between the
largest and smallest districts exceeds 20 percent. 

On March 12, 2001, the state received the census data for the 2000 federal
census.  Based on the total statewide population of 20,851,820, the ideal
population of a representative district is 139,012.  In the current house
plan based on the 2000 census the largest house district (District 47) has
a population of 224,330, or 61.37% over the ideal district.  The smallest
house district (District 77) has a population of 104,998, or 24.47% less
than the ideal district.  The total range of deviation between the largest
and smallest districts is 85.84%.  As new census data was not available
prior to the 60th day of the legislative session, the deadline for filing
general bills, House Bill 150 provides a means for implementing new house
districts as required by the Texas Constitution after the release of the


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 150 provides that the districts from which the members of the
Texas House of Representatives are elected are the same as the districts
from which the house members of the 77th Legislature were elected, with a
few modifications.  The bill provides that territory from three existing
house districts (Districts 19, 61, and 73) is transferred to three other
existing house districts (Districts 22, 62, and 81, respectively).  While
the three changes listed in SECTION 2 of the bill do not constitute a
complete redistricting bill that would satisfy the legislature's duty to
perform redistricting, the bill as introduced provides a vehicle that can
be used to implement a new plan for house districts now that census data is


On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act
takes effect September 1, 2001.