Our daily digest is a mid-day update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re watching:

 

Redistricting Trial Day 1:

Texas’ redistricting trial began today in federal court in San Antonio. Three federal judges are hearing a week’s worth of testimony centered on whether the state intentionally discriminated against minorities when drawing Texas political maps in 2011. The timing of the trial is critical. The 2018 elections are just around the corner and if the judges side with the plaintiffs, it could shake up races across the state.

 

Background:

In 2011, Texas lawmakers drew new political boundaries. It happens every ten years after census data comes out. But the way the Republican-controlled Legislature drew the maps angered minority rights groups who called the new state and congressional maps discriminatory toward black and Latino voters. That led to a court drawing temporary maps that were used for the 2012 elections. In 2013, lawmakers adopted those maps and that’s what the state has been using ever since.

 

But then, this spring the federal judges ruled that three of Texas’ 36 congressional districts were drawn illegally. The judges also ruled that Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minorities when crafting them.

 

The Arguments:

The state says it didn’t target Texas voters by race, but does admit it drew maps in a partisan way. It wants the legal challenge dismissed. Minority rights groups continue to argue the 2013 maps were meant to be temporary and should be redrawn because they don’t address all of the concerns first raised with the 2011 maps.

 

Ruling:

The trial is expected to last through Friday or Saturday. It’s unclear when the judges will rule.

 

We’ll have a full report on day 1 of the trial from San Antonio with John Salazar at 7pm.

Matt Angle, director of Texas’ Lone Star Project, will also be joining us from San Antonio to discuss why his group is pushing for the maps to be redrawn.

 


Special Session Proclamation:

Governor Greg Abbott has now officially called state lawmakers back to Austin for a special session. Abbott’s formal proclamation today means the Legislature will reconvene next Tuesday at 10am.

For now, the governor only asked lawmakers to extend operations of the Texas Medical Board and other state agencies set to expire this fall. Lawmakers failed to do so during the regular session that ended in May.

Once that so-called sunset legislation is passed, Abbott has promised to include 19 other priorities for the 30-day special session. Those include a private school voucher proposal, school finance reform and anti-abortion measures.

 

Bathroom Bill:

The so-called bathroom bill is also part of that long list of special session items. Our Max Gorden will have the story of one family fighting back against the measure.

 

Join us for these stories and the latest out of Washington tonight on Capital Tonight at 7pm.

 

Posted by Karina Kling

@KarinaKling