- The Washington Times - Monday, October 13, 2003

AUSTIN (AP) — A six-month battle in the Texas Legislature ended last night when the Senate passed a congressional redistricting plan in a third special legislative session and then adjourned.

The bill now goes to Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who is expected to sign it into law.

The new map, approved 17-14 in the Senate, likely will give Republicans the majority in the Texas congressional delegation that is now ruled 17-15 by Democrats.

Democrats have opposed every attempt by Republicans to pass a new plan, saying the current congressional boundaries drawn by a court in 2001 should remain in place. Republicans say current voting trends show Texas should have more Republican representation in Washington.

Republicans have said they could gain as many as six additional seats in the delegation. Democrats said the map would add seven Republicans.

The bill’s passage ends six months of strange twists, including two walkouts by Democrats, three special sessions and Republican infighting.

While the legislative battle over congressional redistricting is finished, the feud continues. Democrats have pledged to take their fight to court.

Democratic state Sen. Judith Zaffirini yesterday called the redistricting plan “a clear, blatant abuse of power intended to build the Republican Party at the expense of Democrats.”

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