Senate Redistricting Committee Seeks Public Input

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AUSTIN—Senator Joan Huffman (R – Houston) announced today that the Texas Senate Redistricting Committee will hold a series of regional hearings to solicit testimony from the public about the upcoming redistricting process. 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.

“I look forward to hearing from Texans in every part of the State about their communities as we prepare to redistrict using the data from the 2020 Census,” said Senator Joan Huffman, Chair of the Committee. “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.”

While witness registration is open, complete the witness registration form available here: https://bit.ly/361VmKM. Witnesses must complete all fields including the witness affirmation to complete registration. After completing a registration form, each witness will receive a registration confirmation email that includes a link to join the videoconference and other instructions. Please note that only registered witnesses will be allowed to testify before the committee at the hearing. If you wish to watch the regional hearing without providing testimony, you may do so at https://senate.texas.gov/events.php.

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR REGISTERED WITNESSES

 

Joining the Videoconference:

1.   Up to 30 minutes prior to the hearing, sign in to the Zoom meeting by clicking the link in your confirmation email. When prompted, enter the passcode provided in your confirmation email. (Note: if you need assistance, visit https://zoom.us/join or call Zoom customer service at 1-888-799-9666).

 

2.   Once you have entered the passcode, you will be placed in the waiting room. You will remain in the waiting room until it is your turn to testify. While you wait to be recognized, please watch the hearing livestream at https://senate.texas.gov/events.php.

 

 

Testifying via Videoconference:

1.   The Chair will call registered witnesses in small groups during the public testimony portion of the regional hearing. When your name is called, committee staff will admit you from the Zoom waiting room. Once you are admitted, make sure your camera is enabled, and mute or turn off the hearing livestream. After you are admitted from the waiting room, you will be able to continue watching the regional hearing on Zoom as you wait to be called to provide testimony.

 

2.   When it is your turn to testify, the Chair will ask you to state your name and who you represent for the record. Make sure to unmute your microphone before speaking. When providing testimony, your camera will be publicly displayed so that the committee members and the public will be able to see you provide testimony. You must have your camera on and be visible to the committee in order to testify.

 

3.   To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, public testimony will be limited by the Chair. The Chair will inform all participants at the start of the hearing the time limit that public witnesses will have to provide testimony. Please plan your testimony accordingly.

 

4.   During and/or after your testimony, Senate members may ask you questions, which will not count against your time to provide testimony.

 

5.   After your testimony, you will be released from the videoconference and may livestream the remainder of the hearing at https://senate.texas.gov/events.php.

 

Written Comments:

Any member of the public may submit written comments and attachments to the committee at any time throughout the legislative redistricting process. To submit written comments and attachments via the public-input portal, please visit the committee’s website at https://senate.texas.gov/cmte.php?c=625. All comments and attachments received via the public-input portal are shared with all committee members and maintained in the committee’s official records.

 

Livestreaming:

The livestream of the regional hearing is available here: https://senate.texas.gov/events.php

 

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