By Donna Garner
ACTION STEP: It does not seem that there is much the grassroots can do to redirect the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) redistricting map now. However, we certainly can have input into Gov. Perry’s selection of the new SBOE chair.
Please contact Gov. Perry’s office (contact information posted further on down the page) and ask him to appoint any of the following SBOE members as the chair: David Bradley, Terri Leo, Barbara Cargill, or Ken Mercer because they have proved themselves to be consistent conservatives on the Board and have been involved in adopting the very significant, new-and-improved English, Science, and Social Studies standards. Charlie Garza is a fine conservative member also, but he has only been on the Board for a few short months. —
“Gov Perry’s Poor Choice Could Hurt Texas for Ten Years” by Donna Garner 6.6.11
Please see the article posted at the bottom of this e-mail in which Gov. Perry explains why he chose not to veto the Texas State Board of Education redistricting map. Gov. Perry stated, “…I’d rather the Legislature deal with that issue rather than the courts, and that was the option there. If I vetoed that bill, then it went to the courts, and it could have been even worse.”
However, this statement is not entirely accurate. It is true that Gov. Perry did have to make a decision on the SBOE redistricting map issue by Wednesday, May 18, 2011; but if he had chosen to veto the SBOE redistricting map, then it would not have gone straight to the courts but would have gone back to the Legislature for another vote to check for an override veto.
In the weeks leading up to May 18, over 5,000 people signed a petition to the Governor; and 24 Republican and/or tea party leaders representing thousands of other Texans had driven to Austin to produce a YouTube shown widely throughout the state and nation. Our message was, “Gov. Perry, please stand with us Texans and veto the SBOE map.”
2nd Video produced….
Because of this public pressure from so many in the grassroots, numerous Texas Legislators had admitted they were having “buyers’ remorse” over previously having voted for Sen. Seliger’s highly questionable E120 SBOE map. (If left in place, E120 would determine SBOE districts for the next ten years.)
In all fairness to the House and Senate members, they never even got to debate E118, the map that the majority of SBOE members preferred. In fact, Pat O’Grady (who drew up E118 and also had drawn up the SBOE map ten years ago that had successfully met all court challenges) was never allowed to present his supportive data on the floor of either the House or the Senate. Various legislators stated that they did not even know there was an E118 but voted for Seliger’s E120 at his behest.
If Gov. Perry had vetoed the SBOE map and it had gone back to the House and the Senate for another vote, we in the grassroots believe there was a good chance the Legislators would have insisted that E120 and E118 both be brought out on the floor for debate. In that scenario, it is certainly possible that E118 would have been approved. If not, at least we voters would have had an up-or-down vote by all Texas Legislators for us to use in the elections of 2012.
One other possibility existed also: If the House and the Senate had not been able to bring the SBOE redistricting map to a final vote before the end of the Regular Session, then Gov. Perry could have added it to the Special Session where the two-thirds majority rule in the Senate is no longer required.
By Gov. Perry refusing to veto Sen. Seliger’s E120 map, a valuable chance for a revote was missed that might have changed the entire future for the next ten years of our 4.7 million Texas public school students.
GOV. PERRY’S ACTUAL OPTIONS
Prior to sending my 5.19.11 detailed report to Gov. Perry about what had led up to Sen. Seliger’s questionable E120 SBOE redistricting map, I called the Governor’s Legislative Office and went word-for-word over the redistricting regulations as referenced in the official source produced by Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and Speaker Straus (Texas Legislative Council). A few important questions had arisen about the details of the legislative process, and I wanted to make sure I had it right.
At the end of our conversation, I sent the person in the Legislative Office the following written statements; and he said they were accurately aligned with the official TLC source:
Texas. Research Division of the Texas Legislative Council. Guide to 2011 Redistricting. Austin: July 2010 <http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/redist/pdf/Guide_to_2011_Redistricting.pdf>, p.10.
The rules for Senate and House redistricting maps follow one set of rules. The rules for Congressional and Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) redistricting maps follow yet another set of rules. One big difference between the two sets of rules is that the Congressional and SBOE redistricting maps do not ever go to the Legislative Redistricting Board.
TEXAS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION RULES
Redistricting bills follow the same path through the legislature as other legislation.
Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) redistricting bills may be introduced in either or both houses.
Following final adoption by both houses, the SBOE redistricting bill is presented to Gov. Perry for approval.
(1) Gov. Perry may sign the bill into law.
(2) Gov. Perry may allow it to take effect without a signature.
(3) Gov. Perry may veto it.
If the SBOE bill is vetoed and cannot be overridden with a 2/3 majority in each of the two houses, Gov. Perry may call a special session to consider the matter; or the matter may be taken up in state or federal district court.
The final SBOE plan is filed with the Texas Secretary of State and is subject to federal preclearance under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The plan adopted, in most cases, becomes effective for the following primary and general elections, pending preclearance and judicial review.
To learn what actually happened behind the scenes that led to the demise of Gail Lowe as chair of the SBOE, please read the following. Then please contact Gov. Perry and ask him assertively NOT to appoint Bob Craig as the Chair:
5.27.11 — “Keep This Handy for 2012 — SBOE Chaos” by Donna Garner —
Contact information for Gov. Rick Perry —http://governor.state.tx.us/contact/assistance.aspx
- Information and Referral Hotline [for Texas callers] :
- Citizen’s Opinion Hotline [for Texas callers] :
- Information and Referral and Opinion Hotline [for Austin, Texas and out-of-state callers] :
- Office of the Governor Main Switchboard :
- Office of the Governor Fax:
Written by: William Lutz 5/31/2011 5:16 PM
Excerpts from this article:
On a conference call with bloggers today, Gov. Rick Perry explained his decision to allow the State Board of Education redistricting map to become law without his signature. Many conservatives are upset about how the map treats some of the more conservative members of the State Board of Education.
“I wasn’t particularly happy with that piece of legislation,” Perry said. “I think there was some clear evidence from my perspective that the Legislature was engaged in some gerrymandering – I’ll use that term – against some of the more conservative members of the State Board of Education. As disappointed as I was in that map, I’d rather the Legislature deal with that issue rather than the courts, and that was the option there. If I vetoed that bill, then it went to the courts, and it could have been even worse.”