Bills have been introduced in both houses of the Texas legislature to establish bipartisan redistricting commissions.
HJR 38, by Mark Strama (D-Austin) would set up a commission to redistrict U.S. House districts and state legislative districts. It would consist of seven members. The most senior member of each house, among each of the two largest parties, would choose one member of the Commission. Three of those four commissioners would need to agree on the identity of the fifth member of the Commission. Then, the fifth member of the Commission would choose two retired federal judges, and the two judges would need to have been appointed by presidents of different political parties. The two judges would become the sixth and seventh members of the Commission.
The bill doesn’t provide for the possibility that only one, or no, retired federal judges would be willing to accept this work. Also it doesn’t provide for ties among a determination of which legislator in each house has the most seniority.
Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) has introduced SB 104, to establish a commission that would only draw U.S. House boundaries. It would have nine members. The two largest party caucuses in each House would each choose two members. Five of those eight would need to agree on the choice of the ninth member.
These bills leave virtually no role anyone but Democrats and Republicans to choose commission members.