REDISTRICTING HEARINGS

In the Texas Senate, the Special Committee on Redistricting currently is conducting hearings. Remember to register to testify at your Regional Hearing at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing. The calendar for Regional Hearings may be found at https://redistricting.capitol.texas.gov/2020s - meetings-section The link includes videos of previous hearings. You may wish to watch one or more hearings to become more comfortable with the hearing process.

Click on https://redistricting.capitol.texas.gov/2020s - meetings-section and look for the hearing for your region. If there is no hearing for your region or you missed the hearing for your region, you may testify at ANY hearing about your region; however, you must register at least 24 hours in advance.

Click on the REGIONAL FOCUS for your region (far right column) to bring up the Notice of Hearing for your region. Once in the NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING, scroll down to Public Testimony and be sure to read that information.

Then scroll down to Witness Registration Instructions and click on the link imbedded in that paragraph to complete the witness registration form for the hearing.

After you register, you will need to follow the instructions for Joining the Videoconference and Testifying via Videoconference.

Your testimony is the preferred method of making a record to support the redistricting efforts. However, "[ANY] member of the public may submit written comments and attachments to the committee at any time throughout the legislative redistricting process." Look under the Written Comments section for instructions to submit written comments and attachments.

Be prepared to provide useful information to your representatives about your community based on your personal knowledge of the area and by doing some research about your community. Such information includes, but is not limited to, local preferences, communities of interest, and local voting patterns. Please use your own words, but the talking points we want to hit upon are contained in the below testimony.

    

My name is ____________________________________________ and I currently reside at _____________________________________________.

I am over 18 years of age and am a registered voter. I reside in Texas Senate District ___ and Congressional District ___.

The testimony I give today is based upon my personal knowledge from my experience in my community and as a citizen of the State of Texas.

[TALKING POINT 1:] I want any new district map to fairly represent the voting patterns of Texas. In Texas, all of our statewide officials are Republican. Therefore, any new Congressional seats awarded to Texas as a result of the increase of the Texas population should represent the voting pattern of the state of Texas which is Republican.

[TALKING POINT 2:] I want the new map to reflect one person, one vote as provided in the US Constitution. It is important to me that districts are created so that there is approximately equal voting power in each district, and by "equal voting power," I mean equal voting power of people legally eligible to vote.

[TALKING POINT 3:] I want to emphasize that I believe it is important that redistricting is accomplished by our elected officials, like you, who are accountable to the people of Texas. I strongly oppose any so-called "Independent Panel" that is not elected by the people of the State of Texas. Allowing redistricting to be done by an appointed panel takes away my voice and the voice of people like me in this very important process.

SPECIFICS: For my community in particular you should know that:
[information specific to your community such as transportation corridors (ex: I-35 or I-45 & Loop 610) and commuting patterns; description of its borders (physical barriers like streets, rivers, military bases, and also legal barriers like city or county lines); economical regions (industrial, agricultural, tech, army, etc), shared interests (shared social and economic interests that should be kept together in a district. For example, similar living standards, similar work opportunities, use of similar transportation facilities common to an urban area, a rural area, an industrial area,

or an agricultural area)].

 

Testimony Example:

My name is XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, and I currently reside at XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. I am over 18 years of age and I am a registered voter. I live in the Lakeway area of the current HD 47, SD 24, and Congressional District 25. The testimony I give today is based upon my personal knowledge from my experience in my community and as a citizen of the State of Texas.

I want any new district map to fairly represent the voting patterns of Texas. In Texas, all of our statewide officials are Republican. Therefore, any new Congressional seats awarded to Texas as a result of the increase of the Texas population should represent the voting pattern of the state of Texas which is Republican.

I want the new map to reflect one person, one vote as provided in the US Constitution. It is important to me that districts are created so that there is approximately equal voting power in each district, and by "equal voting power," I mean equal voting power of people legally eligible to vote.

I want to emphasize that I believe it is important that redistricting is accomplished by our elected officials, like you, who are accountable to the people of Texas. I strongly oppose any so-called "Independent Panel" that is not elected by the people of the State of Texas. Allowing redistricting to be done by an appointed panel takes away my voice and the voice of people like me in this very important process.

For my community in particular you should know that the area is bordered by Lake Travis. Highway 71 borders the area to the south, and FM 2222 borders the area to the north and includes Lakeway and Steiner Ranch. Ranch Road 620 runs north and south through the area. The area is bordered on the west by the Pedernales River. The school districts are Lake Travis ISD and Leander ISD. We physically are in Travis County but, thankfully, outside the city limits of Austin. The entire area is mostly comprised of residentially zoned communities and the commercial/retail activity that supports the residents. The Baylor Scott & White Lakeway Hospital serves the area as well as additional Urgent Care and medical facilities. Because the area surrounds Lake Travis, many of the commercial enterprises serve the lake tourism interests.

Most of the residents of the area are English speakers; however, there are Spanish speaking residents and the schools provide ESL classes for the students where English is not the primary language spoken in the home. Economically, this area primarily is middle and upper middle class.

The people in the Lakeway and Steiner Ranch communities enjoy not being caught up in the craziness of the City of Austin. The residents of the Lake Travis and Leander school districts travel the same corridors to work and school and have similar economic and educational backgrounds. It makes sense for these communities to be included in the same legislative or Congressional districts. The areas further west from the Lakeway area toward Marble Falls are less dense in population, but also share many of the economic and educational characteristics of my part of Travis County.

I hope that my testimony, based upon my personal knowledge of the community in which I live, is helpful to you in the redistricting process.

Thank you.