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Top Morning Stories 12/14/11: TX Election Maps, Dates Still in Limbo, Floods Possible after Fires

Photo by Matt Largey/KUT News
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (right) with LBJ Presidential Library and Museum director Mark Updegrove on December 13, 2011. Holder vowed to fight the redistricting maps passed by the Texas Legislature.

Texas Redistricting Maps, Election Dates Still Up in the Air

Lawyers for the Texas Republican and Democratic parties plan to meet with a mediator to figure out primary election dates for next year. It appears candidates will have until Monday to file to run for state legislative and congressional seats. Texas elections are in limbo because the U.S. Supreme court blocked interim maps drawn by a San Antonio court. And maps drawn by the Texas Legislature still haven’t been approved by a Washington court.

It's still unclear if all primary elections will be held in March as regularly scheduled, whether they will be pushed back or whether we could have two split primaries on separate days. Ross Ramsey, with our political reporting partner, The Texas Tribune, has more on those possibilities in his article here.

Holder Sounds Off on Texas Redistricting

As lawyers, state leaders and others wrangle over what to do about next year’s primary elections, the nation’s top law enforcement official says he will defend voter rights in Texas.

In a speech at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library Tuesday night, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder vowed to fight the redistricting maps passed by the Texas Legislature. Texas is getting new seats in Congress because the state's population is growing. Hispanics account for much of that growth.

“However, this State has proposed adding zero additional seats in which Hispanics would have the electoral opportunity envisioned by the Voting Rights Act,” said Holder. “Federal courts are still considering this matter, and we intend to argue vigorously at trial that this is precisely the kind of discrimination that Section 5 was intended to block.”

FEMA: Wildfire Survivors Should Consider Flood Insurance

Federal disaster officials are advising Texas wildfire survivors to buy flood insurance. While it may be the last thing on people's minds, FEMA says homes can be more prone to flooding from storm runoff after a wildfire. That’s because fires burn trees and other vegetation that normally soak up rainwater through their roots.

FEMA says most homeowner insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. You can find out how to buy flood insurance through a national program here.