Harlingen, Texas (KVEO)-State lawmakers are beginning to talk about redistricting, even though the census data they need is delayed.
Census numbers are critical for redistricting. Every 10 years the Texas legislature must take census numbers, and redraw congressional districts, including the Texas House and senate.
With census data delayed, because of COVID, lawmakers are using projected numbers as they discuss the process.
State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa said in 2022, Latinos will be the majority population in the state, and the Valley has seen a 10 to 15 percent increase in population, compared to 2010. Right now, lawmakers are using this data as they work to redraw district lines.
“We try and redraw district lines, where each district is approximately the same number of people. We’re making sure we protect the common interest of each community,” said Senator Hinojosa.
Hinojosa says shifts in populations will determine, where those lines are redrawn, and Texas is expected to gain three Congressional seats. The redrawn lines will also determine, how much money each district gets.
“This is how we divide and distribute funding from the federal government, based on the population of each community. It’s 1.5 trillion dollars, that is divided, and split among the whole nation based on population,” said Senator Hinojosa.
Legislators will not make final decisions on redistricting until a special session in the summer, after official census numbers are received.
For now, lawmakers are holding virtual hearing in every region of the state, where you can tell legislators what you think.
“Participation is extremely important for us as we draw the lines, to truly understand and learn, what are the needs of our different communities throughout the state of Texas.” said Senator Hinojosa.
Senator Hinojosa says because of the population growth the Valley has seen; it will not lose representation.
The first of those virtual hearing was held Tuesday morning, with a regional focus on South Texas. Next Tuesday, February 2nd, there will be another hearing where the regional focus will be on the Rio Grande Valley.
For more information about the hearing or to register to testify, you can click here.