Saturday, November 27, 2021

Play

Don't want the hassles of Black Friday - consider a refurbished gift this year; day after Thanksgiving travel could be messy - and supporters regroup for recreational marijuana in South Dakota.

Play

Big retailers predict an historic holiday shopping season, but small businesses are not sharing that optimism, and economists weigh in on what s behind the nation's labor shortages.

Play

South Dakota foster kids find homes with Native families; a conservative group wants oil and gas reform; rural Pennsylvania residents object to planes flying above tree tops; and poetry debuts to celebrate the land.

Lawsuit Claims Texas Redistricting Maps Disenfranchise Minority Voters

Play

Friday, November 19, 2021   

AUSTIN, Texas -- Legal challenges are piling up in Texas over newly-drawn congressional and legislative district maps, with the latest alleging they disenfranchise people of color.

The Fair Maps Texas Action Committee filed a legal challenge this week on behalf of a coalition of voting and civil-rights groups and individual voters.

Jerry Vattamala, director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said despite people of color accounting for 95% of the state's population boom over the last decade, the new maps appear to be drawn to diminish their influence.

"These lines are essentially silencing them," Vattamala asserted. "Surgically removing these communities and adding them with white, rural counties to essentially dilute their vote."

The plaintiffs' legal team wants a federal court to block the plans from being used and order new maps.

Lydia Ozuna, president of Texans Against Gerrymandering, said the maps don't reflect the major growth of the Hispanic community and, in her view, intentionally prevent equal representation.

"With the purpose of crushing the hopes and dreams of people of color in Texas," Ozuna contended. "Give us a chance to have the representatives in our state mirror our communities."

Noor Taj, voting rights counsel for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, said the process used by state lawmakers provided few opportunities for meaningful public input.

"The rushed process by which these maps were drawn and passed reflects discriminatory intent," Taj stated. "People were not given notice to examine the proposed maps and comment. Amendments that would have fixed those issues were rejected."

David Donatti, staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas, noted redistricting in the state has always been controversial.

"In every decade since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, a federal court has intervened to deny Texas' unlawful racial gerrymandering," Donatti pointed out.


get more stories like this via email
Vicki Harder-Thorne is honoring 30 years of sweat equity her parents put into restoring 80 acres of land in Ottawa County. (Harder-Thorne)

Environment

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Succession is an inevitable process for Ohio farmers, and it can also be an opportunity to re-imagine the land. Vicki Harder-…


Environment

HELENA, Mont. -- To honor the Biden administration's steps toward greater ties with tribal nations, conservation groups are calling on it to list the …

Environment

RICHMOND, Va. -- In central Virginia, permanent access to land is one of the biggest barriers to farming. A new land-trust model aims to secure both …


Old electronics can be sold, donated or recycled instead of thrown out to reduce waste. (Mihail/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

BOSTON -- This holiday season, consumer advocates are urging Commonwealth residents to consider giving gifts that don't require purchasing anything…

Social Issues

AUSTIN, Texas -- Supply chain delays have some holiday shoppers stressed that gifts won't be on store shelves on this "Black Friday," or won't arrive …

The Michigan Energy Assistance program can help with paying utility bills and weatherization tips to keep the heat in your home. (weyo/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

DETROIT -- As cold weather moves in, state agencies are working to make sure Michiganders know how to apply for the Michigan Energy Assistance …

Social Issues

NEW YORK -- A team of New York-based filmmakers is producing a documentary about reclaiming Indigenous heritage, told through the experiences of an 18…

Social Issues

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- A new report ranks Maryland as one of the worst states in providing support for young victims of sex trafficking. While Maryland …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021