New redistricting maps favoring Republicans head to Gov. Abbott's desk

Once again, lawmakers in Austin are up against a deadline.

The third special session ends Tuesday.  The most critical issue is redistricting.

Friday, both the Senate and House considered maps passed by the opposite chamber.

The redistricting maps now go to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk. However, Democrats believe it's unfair to minority voters and expect a court battle.

Some lawmakers honored the tradition of letting the Senate defer to the House’s own plan and vice versa.

"It has been the tradition of the legislature that each body prepares its own redistricting plan each redistricting cycle, and that each chamber defers to the other in passing their respective plan," said State Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston.)

But Democrats in the House tried, unsuccessfully, to buck that tradition when they took up the Senate’s new map.

"Tradition does not trump the Voting Rights Act, tradition does not trump the constitution, tradition does not trump what is right and wrong," Democratic Caucus Chair State Rep. Chris Turner said.

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House Democrats specifically tried to restore Senate District 10 closer to its current boundaries.

It’s entirely within Tarrant County. But under the new map, it reaches across several rural counties.

Democrats said it’s an effort to dilute minority voters.

"Make no mistake, by cracking 10 the ways these proposed maps have done, you will take away the opportunity for Latino representation, people’s representation in the Senate, for many years to come," said State Rep. Ramon Romero (D-Fort Worth.)

But Democrats’ efforts failed, and the Republican-led plan trudged forward.

Throughout the year, the Senate and House have clashed at times. The lack of trust, perhaps evident, when the House insisted it pass the Senate bill at the exact same time the Senate passed the House bill.

The speaker even ordered the house doors open to watch the Senate.

"This is like getting the jets to fly over exactly as they finish the national anthem," said Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

The House and Senate ultimately passed the redistricting maps. But the issue is likely far from settled.

House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner wrote on Twitter, "GOP: We'll see you in court."

The House passed property tax relief legislation, but it differs from the Senate version, and they'll have to sort out differences in committee.

A bill that cleared a committee on Thursday to effectively ban vaccine mandates is on the Senate's calendar Saturday.