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Redistricting maps could face local hurdles

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TWC News: Redistricting maps could face local hurdles
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Legal and political experts alike expect a long line in the court system after the Texas Legislature signed off on this session’s redistricting efforts Saturday.

The Travis County Commissioner’s Court gave County Attorney David Escamilla the authority to file lawsuits if he believes Travis County voters have lost proper representation.

Public policy expert and former State Rep. Sherri Greenberg said before politicians carve up the state, they have discussions of following federal rules to be legally fair.

"You talk about the voting rights act to being a southern state and not diluting the ability of minority populations to elect individuals," she said.

Although laws protect certain voters’ rights, Greenberg says those in power usually get what they want.

"Okay, if we're in control we're going to gerrymander for our party, but we do have to be cognizant of the voting rights acts. That's where the lawsuits are going to come,” she said.

The map carves Austin into four parts. Senate District 24 runs 200 miles northwest to Abilene. Senate District 21 takes a longer stretch, 350 miles south to the Mexican border.

"What is the community of interest between somebody in the middle of Travis County and somebody down on the valley?" Greenberg said.

There are two hard options on the table when it comes to drawing new congressional lines. Gov. Perry could call a special session to finish the work or he could leave it to up to the federal courts to decide.

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