GOP-led Texas House approves new district maps that favor Republicans even more and strip away seats in Hispanic and Black areas

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan gavels in the 87th Legislature’s special session at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas. Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images
  • The GOP-led Texas House approved new district maps on Sunday that favor Republicans.
  • The maps would strip seats in Hispanic and Black areas, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
  • US Senate Democrats have been trying to clamp down on gerrymandering efforts across the country.

The Republican-led Texas House approved new district maps on Sunday that give Republicans an even bigger advantage in the state’s congressional representation and strips away seats in Hispanic and Black areas, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

The new map would add up to two more seats to Republicans’ already crushing 23-13 edge.

The seats would remove the only majority Black district in the state and reduce the Hispanic-majority districts from two to just one.

Democrats have repeatedly objected to the proposed districts, drawn by the Texas Senate, arguing that the GOP failed to acknowledge increases in Latino, Asian, and Black populations as a result of the 2020 census, the report said.

Several Democrats told The American-Statesman that they believe the map won’t hold up against federal court scrutiny.

“It’s mean-spirited. It’s disingenuous. It’s racist,” Rep. Yvonne Davis, D-Dallas, told the paper.

Efforts to curb gerrymandering continue nationwide

US Senate Democrats have been trying to clamp down on gerrymandering efforts across the country by introducing legislation that gives judges more ground to reject maps deemed unfair toward one political party, The Hill reported last month.

One proposed bill – The Freedom to Vote Act – creates tests that courts would use to block the use of gerrymandered maps, and it requires the courts to immediately toss out any maps that don’t pass.

Courts would have to evaluate maps using two tests, one that is based on the number of votes “wasted,” or received beyond the 50 percent needed to win each district, The Hill reported.

The other evaluates partisan bias by determining the percentage of seats each party would wil under a map where the same number of Democrat and Republican votes were cast, according to the Hill.

The two tests produce a percentage and anything over a 7 percent rating would need to be blocked by the courts.

“It essentially puts states on notice that if they go overboard in enacting egregiously unfair congressional redistricting plans, that federal courts would have clear direction for how to deal with those situations,” Jeffrey M. Wice, a senior fellow at the New York Census & Redistricting Institute at New York Law School, told The Hill.