Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 722
By: Jones, Delwin


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 722 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 722 provides that the districts from which the members of the
United States House of Representatives from the State of Texas are elected
are the same as the districts from which the members of the House of
Representatives from the State of  Texas for the 107th Congress were
elected, with a few modifications.  The bill provides that territory from
four existing congressional districts (Districts 2, 11, 19, and 13) is
transferred to four other existing house districts (Districts 1, 17, 13 and
19, respectively).  While the four 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 available. 


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