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Texas Lawmakers Take On Redistricting In Special Session

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:13 PM CDT

After 140 days of the regular session, Governor Rick Perry said state lawmakers still have unfinished business. Tuesday was the first day of the special session.

For taxpayers, it will cost about $27,000 for each day lawmakers are at the Capitol. That covers their meals and living expenses. When you factor in mileage reimbursements, it could all add up to $1 million if they stay all 30 days.

The only focus after day one of the special session was redistricting.

Texas lawmakers met quickly on Tuesday morning in the House Chambers to appoint a 19 member redistricting committee. They'll help decide whether to stay with the political districts drawn up by federal judges, who ruled the old districts discriminated against minorities.

"We will take two entire days of testimony and hear from other people's concerns," committee member Representative Larry Gonzalez said. "People are free to offer amendments and to draw up different maps."

That testimony will start Friday morning. Representative Gonzalez said they may have a final decision as early as next week.

"I don't think it will be controversial, considering the courts have already drawn them," he speculated.

"It's just not a priority to the people of Texas," countered Representative Mark Strama.

He believes redistricting decisions should be left to an independent council.

"The voters do not care how we gerrymander our districts to perpetuate our own political self-advantage," Representative Strama said. "It's not a priority to them. It's not a priority to me."

It is a priority to Governor Rick Perry who requested lawmakers revisit redistricting. As far as any other unfinished business the Governor wants addressed during special session?

"No decisions have been made at this time about any other additions than what we have," he told a room full of media on Tuesday.

A federal court in San Antonio has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday on the Texas redistricting case.

By Katherine StolpTexas Lawmakers Take On Redistricting In Special Session


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