Bill Text: TX HB2429 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the Texas Voting Rights Act.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-11 - Referred to Elections [HB2429 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-HB2429-Introduced.html
  86R10960 JRJ-D
 
  By: Reynolds H.B. No. 2429
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the Texas Voting Rights Act.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Title 1, Election Code, is amended by adding
  Chapter 5 to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 5. TEXAS VOTING RIGHTS ACT
         Sec. 5.001.  DEFINITIONS. As used in this chapter:
               (1)  "At-large election" means any of the following
  methods of electing members to the governing body of a political
  subdivision:
                     (A)  one in which the voters of the entire
  jurisdiction elect the members to the governing body;
                     (B)  one in which the candidates are required to
  reside within given areas of the jurisdiction and the voters of the
  entire jurisdiction elect the members to the governing body; or
                     (C)  one that combines at-large elections with
  district-based elections.
               (2)  "District-based election" means a method of
  electing members to the governing body of a political subdivision
  in which the candidate must reside within an election district that
  is a divisible part of the political subdivision and is elected only
  by voters residing within that election district.
               (3)  "Protected class" means a class of voters who are
  members of a race, color, or language minority group, as this class
  is defined in the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C.
  Section 10101 et seq.).
               (4)  "Racially polarized voting" means voting in which
  there is a difference, as defined in case law regarding enforcement
  of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C. Section 10101 et
  seq.), in the choice of candidates or other electoral choices that
  are preferred by voters in a protected class, and in the choice of
  candidates and electoral choices that are preferred by voters in
  the rest of the electorate.
         Sec. 5.002.  PURPOSE. The Texas Voting Rights Act is enacted
  to implement the guarantees of Sections 3a and 19, Article I, and
  Section 2, Article VI, Texas Constitution.
         Sec. 5.003.  METHODOLOGIES. The methodologies for
  estimating group voting behavior as approved in applicable federal
  cases to enforce the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 (52 U.S.C.
  Section 10101 et seq.) to establish racially polarized voting may
  be used for purposes of this chapter to prove that elections are
  characterized by racially polarized voting.
         Sec. 5.004.  RESTRICTION ON METHOD OF ELECTION. If it is
  shown that racially polarized voting occurs in elections for
  members of the governing body of a political subdivision, a method
  of election may not be imposed or applied in a manner that impairs
  the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice
  or its ability to influence the outcome of an election.
         Sec. 5.005.  RELEVANT FACTORS. (a) Elections conducted
  before the filing of an action are more probative to establish the
  existence of racially polarized voting than elections conducted
  after the filing of the action.
         (b)  The occurrence of racially polarized voting shall be
  determined from an examination of results of elections in which at
  least one candidate is a member of a protected class or elections
  involving ballot measures, or other electoral choices that affect
  the rights and privileges of members of a protected class. One
  circumstance that may be considered is the extent to which
  candidates who are members of a protected class and who are
  preferred by voters of the protected class, as determined by an
  analysis of voting behavior, have been elected to the governing
  body of a political subdivision that is the subject of an action
  based on Section 5.004.  In multiseat at-large election districts,
  where the number of candidates who are members of a protected class
  is lower than the number of seats available, the relative
  class-wide support received by candidates from members of a
  protected class shall be the basis for the racial polarization
  analysis.
         (c)  The fact that members of a protected class are not
  geographically compact or concentrated may not preclude
  establishing racially polarized voting or finding a violation of
  Section 5.004 but may be a factor in determining an appropriate
  remedy for a violation of that section.
         (d)  Proof of intent on the part of the voters or elected
  officials to discriminate against a protected class is not
  required.
         (e)  Other factors such as the history of discrimination, the
  use of electoral devices or other voting practices or procedures
  that may enhance the dilutive effects of a method of election,
  denial of access to those processes determining which groups of
  candidates will receive financial or other support in a given
  election, the extent to which members of a protected class bear the
  effects of past discrimination in areas such as education,
  employment, and health, which hinder their ability to participate
  effectively in the political process, and the use of overt or subtle
  racial appeals in political campaigns are probative, but not
  necessary factors to establish a violation of Section 5.004.
         Sec. 5.006.  REMEDY. On a finding of a violation of Section
  5.004, the court shall implement appropriate remedies, including
  the imposition of district-based elections, that are tailored to
  remedy the violation.
         Sec. 5.007.  CIVIL ACTION. Any voter who is a member of a
  protected class and who resides in a political subdivision where a
  violation of Section 5.004 is alleged may bring a civil action to
  enforce that section.
         SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
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