Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3521
By: Garcia


The United States Supreme Court has ruled that under the federal
constitution congressional districts must be as equal in population under
the current census as practicable. This is sometimes referred to as the
oneperson, one-vote principle.  Further interpretation of this principle
has found that even a deviation of less than 1% between the population of
the largest and smallest districts in a congressional redistricting plan
may be too large to survive judicial scrutiny.  

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 congressional district is 651,619.  In the current
congressional plan based on the 2000 census the largest congressional
district (District 26) has a population of 845,541 or almost 30% over the
ideal district.  The smallest congressional district (District 13) has a
population of 597,401, or over 8% less than the ideal district.  The total
range of deviation between the largest and smallest districts is over 35%.
House Bill 3521  provides a means for implementing new congressional
districts that comply with the population equality standards imposed by the
federal constitution. 


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 3521 provides that the districts from which the members of the
United States House of Representatives representing the State of Texas are
elected are the same as the districts from which the members of the House
of Representatives representing the State of Texas of the 107th Congress
were elected, with a few modifications.  The bill provides that territory
in Texas Congressional District 12 is transferred to Texas Congressional
District 24.  While the change listed in SECTION 2 of the bill does 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 available. 


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