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LRL Home - Legislation - Redistricting - Congressional redistricting 2001 - 2003 - 2003 chronologyprinter friendly versionreturn to screen view

2003-2004 Congressional Redistricting Chronology

January 14, 2003
78th Texas Legislature convenes in regular session.
February 11, 2003
Representative Joe Crabb, Chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, submits request (RQ-0017-GA) for an Attorney General opinion concerning congressional redistricting.
March 14, 2003
HB 3398, a Congressional redistricting bill, is filed.
April 23, 2003
Attorney General Greg Abbott issues Opinion No. GA-0063 in response to query by Representative Joe Crabb. Attorney General concludes that the Texas Legislature has the authority to adopt a new congressional redistricting plan for the period 2003 through 2010.
May 12, 2003
Fifty-three House democrats break quorum over congressonal redistricting.
June 2, 2003
78th Legislature adjourns Sine Die.
June 18, 2003
Governor Rick Perry calls a special session on congressional redistricting.
June 30, 2003
78th Legislature, 1st Called Session convenes. HB 3, a congressional redistricting bill, is filed.
July 28, 2003
78th Legislature, 1st Called Session adjourns sine die.
The 78th Legislature, 2nd Called Session is called by Governor Rick Perry.
11 Senate Democrats break quorum over redistricting.
July 28, 2003
78th Legislature, 2nd Called Session convenes. HB 1, HB 30, and SB 1, congressional redistricting bills, are filed.
August 11, 2003
Absent senators file suit in Laredo in Barrientos v. State of Texas alleging Republican officials violated the Voting Rights Act by failing to obtain necessary U.S. Department of Justice preclearance before changing redistricting practices and procedures and by abandoning the "two-thirds rule" in the Senate.
August 12, 2003
Senate votes to impose fines upon absent Democratic senators.
August 15, 2003
Senate votes to revoke absent senators’ floor and office privileges until fines are paid.
August 15, 2003
Texas Secretary of State asks U.S. Department of Justice if abandonment of the two-thirds rule is a change in voting practices or procedures that requires preclearance under the Voting Rights Act.
August 20, 2003
Absent democrats amend Barrientos v. State of Texas to include charges that the threat of arrest, the assessment of fines, and the denial of office privileges imposed on them by Republican senators violate the U.S. Constitution.
August 26, 2003
78th Legislature, 2nd Called Session adjourns sine die without passage of a new redistricting plan.
August 26, 2003
U.S. Department of Justice rules that abolishing the two-thirds rule is not a change in voting practices or procedures that requires preclearance under the Voting Rights Act.
September 2, 2003
Democratic Senator John Whitmire returns to Texas from Albuquerque. Agrees to appear on floor of Senate for third called session providing the body with a quorum.
September 3, 2003
Three-judge federal panel meets in Laredo to hear arguments in Barrientos v. State of Texas.
September 12, 2003
Three-judge panel in Laredo dismisses all plaintiffs’ claims in Barrientos v. State of Texas.
September 15, 2003
78th Legislature, 3rd Called Session convenes. Senate Democrats return to floor of the Senate. The two-thirds rule is abandoned.
September 18, 2003
Senate votes to lift fines and restore privileges lost during quorum break. Places eleven Democratic senators on probation.
October 12, 2003
Legislature passes HB 3, redistricting plan 1374C, in a 17-14 vote. Twelve Senate Democrats and two Senate Republicans vote against the bill.
October 12-31, 2003
Numerous lawsuits are filed challenging the legality of mid-decade redistricting in general and plan 1374C in particular. Cases are consolidated under the name Walter Session, et al. v. Rick Perry, et al.
December 11, 2003
Three-judge federal panel hears pre-trial motions for summary judgment in Session v. Perry.
December 19, 2003
U.S. Department of Justice preclears plan 1374C. Three-judge panel in Session v. Perry rules mid-decade redistricting is permissible under state law.
January 6, 2004
Three-judge panel in Session v. Perry rules for the defendants, dismissing the plaintiffs' case.
January 9, 2004
Democratic plaintiffs from Session v. Perry file a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court to stay elections.
April 19, 2004
U.S. Supreme Court affirms lower court ruling in Barrientos v. State of Texas concerning the Senate's abandonment of the two-thirds rule and preclearance requirements under the Voting Rights Act.