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LWVTX Files Amicus Brief in Case Challenging Governor’s Defunding of the Legislature

AUSTIN, TX - Today the League of Women Voters of Texas filed an amicus curiae in In Re Chris Turner, et al. asking the Texas Supreme Court to void the Governor’s veto, highlighting the impact of Governor Abbott's veto of the legislative budget.

“Governor Abbott's defunding of the legislative branch and its vital offices is dangerous to our democracy,  undermines the will of the people, and invalidates the checks and balances upon which our government is built," said Grace Chimene, president of the LWV of Texas. "It’s vital that all Texans declare our independence from party politics and unite as one voice against this unprecedented move.”  

By defunding the Texas Legislature, its staffers, and nonpartisan legislative agencies, Governor Abbott’s veto will prevent the Texas Legislature from performing its constitutional duty to redistrict congressional, legislative, and state board of education seats.  Without any funds, the Legislature will neither be able to conduct the redistricting process nor comply with any of the citizen engagement expectations that usually accompany the legislative component.  The League is deeply interested in the outcome of this case because, without judicial intervention, Governor Abbott’s veto of appropriations for the legislative branch will deprive Texas citizens of a timely and fair process for the redrawing of federal congressional and state legislative maps.

“The Governor’s action to defund the legislature will have a detrimental impact on the upcoming redistricting cycle. We hope that the court not only recognizes that but rules in a way that will restore faith in the redistricting process,” said Demetrius Fisher, national campaign manager for People Powered Fair Maps TM, the League of Women Voters of the United States’s redistricting reform program. “This year, states will have a much shorter window to draw maps, so it is critical that map drawers have adequate time and resources needed to ensure that Texas communities are fairly drawn.”

The League has a long history of advocating for fair, transparent, and accountable redistricting practices and works to encourage its members and all Texans to be informed and active participants in democracy. The League, therefore, seeks to raise for the Court’s consideration the significant consequences of the Governor’s veto and to further the League’s mission of fighting against attacks on the fundamental constitutional right to fair and equal representation guaranteed to all citizens by the United States and Texas Constitutions. 

The League was represented by attorneys Allison J. Riggs and Noor Taj of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and attorney Renea Hicks of the Law Office of Renea Hicks. The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, founded in 2007, partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing, and communications.

The brief can be accessed here

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