Texas 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 Texas Legislature, Regular Session and activated in 1950. It was originally governed by a council of seventeen members, with five senators appointed by the lieutenant governor and ten representatives appointed by the speaker of the house. The lieutenant governor and the speaker served as chair and vice chair and were ex officio members of the council. In 1985 council membership was changed (Senate Bill 813, 69th Legislature, Regular Session) to include the chairs of the senate and house administration committees, four senators appointed by the lieutenant governor and nine representatives appointed by the speaker of the house. The lieutenant governor and the speaker continued to serve as chair and vice chair. Effective January 11, 2004 (House Bill 7, 78th Legislature, 3rd Called Session), the council membership was changed to fourteen members, including the house administration committee chair, six senators appointed by the lieutenant governor and five representatives appointed by the speaker of the house. The lieutenant governor and the speaker serve as joint chairs. Members serve terms beginning with appointment and ending with the convening of the next regular session. The council is responsible for providing research and information to the legislature and legislative agencies, including assistance with drafting and analyzing proposed legislation; printing, processing and distributing legislative documents; and providing information technology support. It also assists state agencies, the public, legislatures from other states and national organizations in answering questions regarding the legislature and Texas laws. The council conducts investigation of agencies and officers of the state and performs statutory revision without substantive change.
The council is authorized to sit between legislatures and is assisted by a large staff. During the legislative session, upon the request of a member or committee, council staff will draft legislation and reports. In addition, staff members may testify before committees and prepare written statements. The staff is organized into four major divisions: Legal, Research, Information Systems and Document Production. Administrative functions are provided by human resources, assurance services and accounting and purchasing departments, while the leadership team of the executive director, assistant executive director, general counsel, director of operations and the division directors are responsible for directing and coordinating the operations of the council.
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.
To support the legislature's redistricting activities, the Special Projects and Redistricting Section within the Research Division of the Texas Legislative Council 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. 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
Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.
Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. 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.).
Some oversize maps may be too large to photocopy.
(Identify the item), Texas Legislative Council redistricting records. 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.
Processed by Hans Rasmussen, March 2001
Finding aid converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by TARO using the conversion stylesheet v1to02.xsl, July 22, 2003
Related materials added and corrections made to encoding to conform to EAD 2002 and DACS by Rebecca Romanchuk, July 2005
Updated restrictions statements and edits to description by Rebecca Romanchuk, July 2015
Detailed Description of the Records