A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
for non-partisan automated congressional redistricting.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. The Election Code, is amended to add Chapter 279,
Congressional Redistricting, to read as follows:
§ 279.001. Conflict and Severability.
Any conflicting provisions of the Texas code are hereby repealed, and if
any provisions of this act are found to be unconstitutional, the remaining
provisions shall remain in full force and effect.
§ 279.002. Schedule and Effect of Congressional
(1) The source code for the production version of the computer
redistricting software and the database shall be made accessible for
downloading from the web site of the Texas Legislative Council (hereafter TLC)
for public examination and comment, and to be shared with other states and
communities, at no cost.
(2) Changes to the production version of computer redistricting software
and the database shall be suspended from September 1 of the first odd-numbered
year following the decennial census, provided that census data are available,
until it is used by the end of November of that year to draw the districts to
be used in the next general election, unless the TLC shall order
(3) Public hearings shall be held during that September to identify any
problems with the software or database. Needed changes shall be made and
approved by the TLC by October 20 of that year.
(4) During November of that year a number of congressional district maps
equal to twice the number of members of the TLC shall be automatically
generated according to the specifications set forth in § 279.003.
(5) Maps generated according to (4) shall be reviewed by members of the
TLC, each member shall have the right to reject one map; and the final map
shall then be selected at random from among those maps remaining, which shall
go into effect for the next election, and shall remain in effect for the
members of the United States House of Representatives elected during that
election until the end of their session preceding inauguration of the
next-elected members; but a successor district map may go into effect as
provided above for the following election, if authorized by this code.
§ 279.003. Specifications for Automatic Redistricting
(1) The initial software to be used is the Target package, written in
the Scheme language, with a user interface written in Visual Basic, which has
already been developed as of the date of the enabling Act for this code.
(2) The TLC shall have the authority to substitute other computer
software of equal or greater capabilities, with such further development as may
be directed by the TLC, but any such software must be authorized to be fully
disclosed and shared with the public, and each must generate maps randomly so
that each map is unpredictable except for meeting the specifications or
constraints set forth in (4) below.
(3) The number of congressional districts shall be that which is set by
United States law, and the database shall contain the relevant data from the
most recent national census.
(4) The specifications for the automatic redistricting software shall be
(a) The population of each district shall not differ from that of any
of the other districts by more than a factor of 0.0001.
(b) Only counties with a population of more than a factor of 1/3 of
the average population of a congressional district may be split, unless a
larger number must be split to meet the specification (a) above, and a smaller
number of counties shall be split if specification (a) can be met without
reducing the compactness of districts according to (e) below.
(c) Districts must be contiguous.
(d) Districts must be simply connected, so that any continuous loop of
points within the district may be shrunk to a point within the district.
(e) Districts shall be maximally compact, resulting from a running
time of at least 6 and not to exceed 24 hours, with compactness defined by
minimizing the value of p²/4pA, where p =
perimeter and A = area of the district.
(f) Such other specifications as may be required by United States law
or court decision, provided that such specifications unambiguously define a
directive to to automatic operation of the computer software, and not a particular
§ 279.004. Supervision of the Automatic Redistricting
(1) The actual operation of the software to automatically generate the
maps shall be subject to supervision of a county grand jury, the county to be
selected at random, or their deputies or experts, who shall be charged to
insure that there is no tampering with the software, database, or operation of
the systems involved.
(2) If feasible and permissible under United States law, the software
shall run on a restricted database containing only the information needed to
meet the above specifications.
SECTION 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2003.