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Austin Remains Home to Lawmakers Through Mid-June

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

It’s all about redrawn political lines these days at the Texas Capitol, and at today’s first hearing of the Senate Redistricting Committee, more questions arose.

But one thing has become clear: Lawmakers will be in Austin at least until mid-June.

State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, is the chair of the Senate’s Redistricting Committee. He told panel members he’s open to feedback and amendments to the interim map bills. "People will be free, Democrats or anyone else, to come and lay [amendments] out along with their legal justification," he said at the morning hearing at the Capitol.

He will be meeting with advocacy groups next week, but Sen. Seliger says he supports codifying the interim district maps drawn by a federal panel in 2012 to give certainty to the 2014 primaries.

State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, is a panel member. She disagrees.

"They are simply not perfect the way some people describe them. And the reason is the population of Texas has grown dramatically, especially among Hispanics," Sen. Zaffirini said. "And we do not have adequate representation of Hispanics, in particular, in the newly drawn districts."

At the first hearing, people said the state should have more of them throughout Texas, because too many people live  far from Austin.

The Senate has added two more hearings on June 6 and 12 and expects to vote on June 15. 

For upcoming Senate hearings click here.
Click here for House hearings.

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