This Week in Texas: October 6, 2021

Posted October 6, 2021 in The Mignon Memo

13 Days Left in the Third Special Legislative Session

Senate Cements Majority, Approves New Maps

The full Texas Senate approved a new political map (SB 4) for its own members that would cement a Republican majority in the chamber for the next decade. 

These new boundaries would give Republicans a 19-12 seat advantage over Democrats, one more than the current 18-13 split.

Democrats argued SB 4 is not an accurate representation of growth seen in Texas in the last 10 years. SB 4 added no additional districts where people of color represent a majority of the district’s eligible voters, even as Black, Hispanic and Asian Texans drove 95% of the state’s growth according to the 2020 census data.

This map, along with the State Board of Education map, will have to be approved by the Texas House before Gov. Greg Abbott can sign them into law.

House Committee Approves New House Map

The Texas House Redistricting Committee on Tuesday voted out a revised draft to redraw the lower chamber’s districts, which will give Republicans a stronger majority in the House of the Legislature for the next decade.

The revised bill does not vary drastically from the initial version filed last week — the draft still aims to increase the GOP’s strength across the state as well as the number of districts in which white residents make up a majority of eligible voters. The latest draft changes the partisan breakdown in the chamber’s 150 districts by adding one district that would lean toward Democrats while still giving Republicans the clear advantage.

The bill will likely reach the full House floor for debate in the coming days and will need a stamp of approval from the full chamber before it can head to the Senate for consideration. The bill is likely to continue to change before the Legislature sends it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for a signature.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Draws Two Democratic Opponents

Democrat Mike Collier (left) has officially thrown his hat in the ring to try to unseat Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in 2022. Collier, an accountant from Houston, lost to Patrick in 2018 by 5 percentage points.

Before a potential faceoff with Patrick, he will first have to beat Matthew Dowd (right), a former George W. Bush strategist, in the Democratic primary.

Only in Austin…

Cooler weather is FAll-nally here! Get ready for another season of ringing in festive, fall activities with the Texas Pumpkin Festival in Leander, TX.

This month-long event is a staple for Austin’s fall activities! Texas Pumpkin Fest features a huge pumpkin patch and hosts various activities for the whole family. Join in on hayrides, corn maze, smashing pumpkins, and burlap bag races. Feast your senses on delicious seasonal food and to ring in October, be dazzled by magicians. There are different events throughout each week, so you will have something different each time you attend!