State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) has pre-filed legislation for the next session of the Texas Legislature which would create a bipartisan congressional redistricting commission.
The proposal (S.B. 104) mirrors previous efforts long championed by outgoing State Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio).
Under the proposal, congressional redistricting would be the responsibility of a nine-member commission. House Republicans and House Democrats each would appoint two members of the commission, and Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats would do the same. Appointed members then would elect a ninth, non-voting member to preside over the commission.
Persons who are, or were within the last two years, elected officials or political party officers (other than precinct chairs) would be barred from serving on the commission as would registered lobbyists.
Commission members would be prohibited from running for office or contributing to state or federal candidates while serving as a commissioner.
If passed, the bill would take effect in 2015.
As with Wentworth’s previous proposals, the bill would not affect redistricting process for state house and state senate seats, which would remain in the hands of legislators.
The text of S.B. 104 can be found here.