The Federal Census Bureau has announced to the administration that it is not likely to be able to deliver the final census numbers to the President by December 31 as required by law. The pandemic is largely to blame, making it almost impossible for census workers to go door to door collecting information from those who failed to complete their census form online or by mail.
Depending on how late the census runs, the numbers may not reach the Texas Legislature in time for redistricting of the Texas House and Senate to be complete before the end of the regular session. No problem, you think, the Governor will just call a special session to complete the process. Not so fast. The Texas Constitution does not allow a special session for redistricting the Texas Legislature without a couple of other things happening.
If the regular session ends without the redistricting process complete and signed by the Governor, the task of drawing the district lines falls to the Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB). The board consists of the Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House, Attorney General, Comptroller and the Land Commissioner. The LRB was created in 1951 and has convened only three times, the last time in 2001. The LRB can only deal with Texas Legislative boundaries. Only if the LRB fails to get agreement on the lines, can the Governor can call a special session.
If the Legislature fails to complete congressional redistricting, that can be done in a special session along with redrawing judicial and state board of education districts. The drawing of new district lines is so complex that it almost always ends up being challenged in court. In some cases, judges end up with the final say in how some district lines are drawn.