YNN’s Karina Kling filed the above video report.

State Attorney General Greg Abbott announced today the state and attorneys representing seven minority groups came to an agreement on new interim redistricting maps. He was confident that an April primary date would be possible. Just hours later though, that certainty seemed in question.

Earlier in the day, Abbott announced he and some minority groups had reached a deal on district lines. But because all plaintiffs weren’t in agreement, the court issued an order, urging the parties to "continue negotiations in an attempt to reach an agreement on interim redistricting plans."



Interim US House map



Who’s on board:

Both the Texas chapters of LULAC and MALDEF support the new interim maps, saying they "are very close to what they requested during litigation." In a conference call with the media, the groups said the maps provided for ‘fair Latino representation;’ with the number of ‘Latino opportunity districts’ increasing from seven to nine. Representatives from the groups agreed with Abbott, saying the maps could "end litigation and stand until 2020."

MALDEF / Latino Redistricting Task Force statement:

"While neither plan is perfect, the Task Force feels it is time to move forward with Texas primaries and let the voters decide the outcome under a legally valid map that protects all existing minority opportunity districts (including districts in which African Americans and Asian Americans elect their preferred candidates) and complies with the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution."

These groups have also signed on:

• GI Forum
• Mexican American Bar Association of Texas
• La Fe Policy Research and Education Center
• Hispanics Organized for Political Education (HOPE)
• National Organization for Mexican American Rights
• Southwest Voter Registration Education
• William C. Velasquez Institute
• Southwest Workers’ Union



Interim TX House map



Opponents to the plan

Attorney General Greg Abbott’s announcement was met with backlash from several minority groups who are also part of the lawsuit. The Mexican American Legislative Caucus argued the maps would dilute the power of the minority vote in some districts.

The NAACP fired back, saying the agreement "flies in the face of fairness and awards most if not all of the new seats to white voters even though minorities account for nearly 89 percent of Texas total growth during this time period. It sets Texas on a path to join other southern States as a full-fledged employer of the Southern Strategy."

Here is the full statement from NAACP representatives Yannis Banks and Gary Bledsoe:

"The NAACP has stood throughout this litigation with our friends and allies from National LULAC which has already announced its opposition to the proposal. Secondly, we are proud to say that the African-American Congresspersons and those who consistently get A’s on our Report Cards are all with us completely on this subject. We are pleased that some changes were made from C185 regarding the current African-American Congressional Districts but the changes do not go far enough. Sadly, all three of Texas African-American Congresspersons had their offices left out of their districts and this did not happen to any white Congressperson. This clearly got the attention of the DC Court. And importantly, Congresswoman Johnson had her home even left out of her district. Those matters seem to have been fixed by the proposed plan though there is still some serious problem that exists with the drafting of the Congressional Districts. However, let me say we need more time to study the map but our preliminary analysis yields the following opinions.

We are disappointed in the plan offered by the State of Texas today in an attempt to push through an early primary election for the State of Texas. The plan provides for 70 percent of 36 to be dominated by white majorities. It flies in the face of fairness and awards most if not all of the new seats to white voters even though minorities account for nearly 89 percent of Texas total growth during this time period. It sets Texas on a path to join other Southern States as a full-fledged employer of the Southern Strategy. Besides having districts that were not fairly treated in the process, African-Americans are reduced to having opportunities to elect the candidate of their choice in 9.3 pecent of the races to 8.3 percent of the races even though they constitute 12 percent of Texas population. We do not think that color coding our political parties is in the best interests of the State of Texas."



Interim TX Senate map

Now what?

The state and the plaintiffs will continue negotiations in an effort to get all groups on board. A hearing on the interim maps is scheduled for Feb. 15.

Monday was the deadline for the two sides to strike a deal if they were hoping to avoid pushing the primary back again. Since that deadline has come and gone, we’re left again wondering where the primary stands.

The original date was set for March 6. That was rescheduled for April 3. Now, we could be looking as late as June.

There is also the possibility of a split primary. That means there would be two elections; one for president and one for other state races. The cost for a split primary is estimated at about $15 million.