AUSTIN - AUSTIN—Senator Joan Huffman (R - Houston) announced on Thursday, January 21, 2021, that the Texas Senate Redistricting Committee will hold a series of regional hearings to solicit testimony from the public about the upcoming redistricting process. The hearings will begin on Monday, January 25. In a first for the Texas Senate, these regional hearings will allow members of the public to testify before the Committee via Zoom videoconference.
The Committee had planned to hold in-person regional hearings across the State over the legislative interim to solicit public input on redrawing Texas electoral districts after the 2020 Census. Due to COVID-19, those hearings could not go forward as scheduled. When the Senate convened last week, it unanimously adopted Senate Resolution 4, which says that the Committee can hold these region-focused hearings in the Capitol, with public testimony provided via videoconference. This is a substitute for the Committee traveling the State to solicit this input in person, as it has in past redistricting cycles.
Senator Joan Huffman, Chair of the Committee, says, "The pandemic has presented new challenges for all of us, but it will not prevent the Senate Redistricting Committee from soliciting input from Texans about their local communities--especially about local and regional considerations related to redistricting. This input will assist the Legislature in the critical task of redistricting."
Although the regional hearings are organized around particular regions and population centers, the Committee will hear testimony about any part of the State at any hearing. "We encourage all Texans and interested parties to make their voices heard in this process, and we look forward to meaningful and productive conversations at these hearings," said Senator Huffman. "I am thrilled that Texans throughout our State have the opportunity to testify on this critical, once-per-decade process from the comforts of their own home, business, or school. Let’s talk Texas."
Dr. Lloyd Potter, Director of the Texas Demographic Center, will provide invited testimony about population projections for the State, for each region. 2020 Census data will not be available until later this year.
To provide public testimony, a witness must register in advance of the regional hearing. Registration for the regional hearings is now open and will close 24 hours prior to the start time of each hearing. Once witness registration has closed, witnesses will no longer be able to register to testify at this regional hearing. However, witnesses may register to testify at any future regional hearing.
No in-person testimony will be taken at the regional hearing. All testimony will be taken by two-way videoconference. To provide testimony by videoconference, witnesses need access to a computer or other device with an internet connection and video/audio capability (e.g., smartphone, tablet, etc.). If you do not have access to such a device at home, work, or school, please visit your local public library. Please note that witnesses must have both audio and video capabilities in order to provide testimony by videoconference.
To register for a hearing and more information about the individual hearings click on the links below:
Wednesday, January 27, 1:00 P.M. Focus - North Texas (Note: Wednesday's meeting will begin at 1:00 P.M. or on adjournment of the Senate session)
Wednesday, February 3, 1:00 P.M. Focus - San Antonio region (Note: Wednesday's meeting will begin at 1:00 P.M. or on adjournment of the Senate session)