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Redistricting Committees Hire Attorneys For Outside Help

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio
TPR News

The House and Senate redistricting committees have secured a legal team to help solve the challenges that exist with the issue of voting districts.

While the House committee has hit the road to hold public meetings in the Dallas area, the Senate committee held its last state capitol meeting before heading out to their own public meetings.

Sen. Kel Seleger, R-Amarillo, the Senate’s redistricting chairman, said the Senate will be using C. Robert Heath, who he said is one of the most experienced redistricting attorneys  in the United States.

According to records, the Senate has agreed to pay Heath a rate of $400 per hour with a Senate provision that his services will not exceed more than $75,000.

Seleger said it is hard to determine how much the Senate will be using Heath’s legal assistance at this point, as it will occur as questions come up.

"He and I are getting ready to have a talk in my office for which our committee will billed absolutely necessarily for it, but I can’t tell you," Seleger said.

At the very first redistricting committee hearing, questions and concerns immediately arose about the need to have someone from the attorney general's office or an outside legal expert readily available as a resource on the issue.

Records indicate the Texas House committee has a similar arrangement with Baylor University professors David Guinn and Mike Morrison.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.