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Checking In with the Charter Revision Committee

Former Texas Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, chair of the 2012 Charter Revision Committee
Photo by Erika Aguilar, KUT News
Former Texas Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, chair of the 2012 Charter Revision Committee

The 2012 Charter Revision Committee – the group tasked with recommending items to be placed before voters for a November charter election – met again last night at the Mexican American Cultural Center. And while they shied away from making any recommendations to City Council, it sounds like some final recommendations – including a decision on district representation – are on the way.

Sabine Romero with the city’s Law Department serves as the city’s staff liaison to the group, and notes final recommendations are expected at the group’s next two meetings.

On January 19, the committee convenes at Lord's Church of Austin, 301 W. Anderson, where, according to Romero, members will make “final recommendations on everything non-maps” – measures including campaign finance reform and additional changes to Austin’s form of elections.

As for those “maps,” they remain the committee’s biggest sticking point, but a recommendation is expected soon after. On February 2, the committee is expected to make a recommendation on whether Austin should change its current system of at-large elections. The so-called “10-1” proposal promulgated by Austinites for Geographic Representation is one option, where council members would represent specific geographic districts, with only the mayor running at-large. A separate proposal calls for an 8-4-1 scenario: Eight single-member districts, two members each in separate “super-districts” halving the city, and the mayor running at-large. And our current mayor Lee Leffingwell has proposed a 6-2-1 hybrid system of his own: six districts, with two council members and the mayor running citywide.

The February 2 meeting is currently scheduled at City Hall, 301 W. Second.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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