Texas Legislature, Legislative Council:
An Inventory of Legislative Council Redistricting Records at the Texas State Archives, 1991, 1995
The Texas Legislative Council was created in 1949 by Senate Bill 316, 51st Legislature, Regular Session as a nonpartisan legislative agency to produce impartial research and information. It is governed by a council of seventeen members, including four senators appointed by the lieutenant governor, nine representatives appointed by the speaker of the House, and the chairs of the Senate and House Administration committees. Members serve terms beginning with appointment and ending with the convening of the next regular session. The lieutenant governor and the speaker serve as chair and vice chair. The Council also assists state agencies, the public, legislatures from other states, and national organizations in answering questions regarding the legislature and Texas laws.
Under the general direction of the executive director, the staff is organized into five major divisions: Administration, Legal, Research, Document Production, and Information Systems. The Council is responsible for providing research and information, bill drafting, computing, publishing, and document distribution services to the legislature and legislative agencies. The Research Division contains the Special Projects and Redistricting Section. To support the legislature's redistricting activities, the section works with information systems staff to build and maintain election, census, and geographic databases and mapping and redistricting computer systems. The staff of the section produces maps and reports showing population and election information for proposed and enacted redistricting plans, as well as informational publications on redistricting.
Lawsuits challenged the U.S. Congressional and State House and Senate districts drawn up after the 1990 census. Thomas v. Bush, filed on January 25, 1995, challenged seventeen senate districts and fifty-four house districts, alleging racial gerrymandering. On September 5, 1995, the federal court hearing the case issued an order to allow court-ordered settlement districts to be used for the 1996 elections. A trial scheduled for October 1995 was postponed pending the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Bush v. Vera, a similar case challenging three U.S. Congressional districts in Texas. As part of the settlement agreement for Thomas v. Bush, the plaintiffs agreed to drop the lawsuit if the legislature enacted the settlement plans or adopted other districts that were less race-conscious, more compact, or more community and neighborhood based.
On June 13, 1996, in the case of Bush v. Vera, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a district court ruling that three U.S. Congressional districts in Texas were unconstitutional because they had been drawn to benefit particular racial groups (116 S.Ct. 1941 ). Texas had gained three more Congressional seats after the 1990 census. The legislature had reconfigured District 18 as a majority African-American district in Harris County, created District 29 as a majority Hispanic district in Harris County, and created District 30 as a majority African-American district in Dallas County.
Thomas v. Bush was dismissed on August 18, 1997 in response to a motion to dismiss filed by state legislative defendants, state executive defendants, and the plaintiffs.
(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, 11th edition (2001); and the agency website at http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/tlc.htm (accessed on July 19, 2005).)
These district population analyses and maps were produced by the Special Projects and Redistricting Section within the Research Division of the Texas Legislative Council to support the legislature's redistricting activities. The population analyses all date from 1995 and concern U.S. Congressional districts (Plan C657), State Board of Education districts (Plan E522), State House districts (Plan H849), and State Senate districts (Plan S730). Each analysis states the number of districts required for each purpose, the ideal district population, and the deviation from the ideal. The analyses list the counties and portions of counties in each district and describe its population by providing the total population and the voting age population and subdividing each of these by ethnic groups.
The maps detail State Board of Education districts, State House districts, and State Senate districts. The maps for the State Board of Education districts (Plan E522) date from 1991 and are black and white. The maps for the House districts (Plan H849) and Senate districts (Plan S730) were drawn in 1995 as part of the court-ordered settlement for the 1996 elections. These records contain both black and white and color versions of the House and Senate district maps.
To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.
Restrictions on Access
Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted and may be freely used in any way. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).
(Identify the item), Legislative Council redistricting records, Texas Legislature. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession number: 1996/054
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Legislative Council on February 5, 1996.
Hans Rasmussen, March 2001
Detailed Description of the Records