The US Constitution requires every 10 years “counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.” The counting is done by the US Census Bureau in years ending in zero and must, by statute, be delivered to the President by December 31st of that year. The count is then used to apportion the number of members of the House of Representatives each state has. The number of Representatives is fixed at 435 so some states will gain seats, some will lose seats based on population shifts.
Texas is the second-fastest-growing state and it appears that the number of Congressional Districts in Texas will grow by three to 39. In 2011, after the last census, each Texas Congressional District held about 550,000 people. Based on getting 39 seats each Congressional District this time will hold about 740,000 people.
This year the Census Bureau has announced they will not have the numbers to the President by December 31st. That will delay getting the numbers to the state of Texas to redraw the Congressional Districts. If the Legislature cannot complete the job of redrawing the Congressional boundaries before the end of the regular session, the Governor can call a special session to complete the job.
Redistricting for judicial and state board of education districts can also be done in a special session. Redistricting for the Texas House and Senate cannot be done in a special session except under special circumstances. Learn more in our next blog post.