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<nettime> Well, don't that beat all
Bruce Sterling on Wed, 14 May 2003 11:53:53 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Well, don't that beat all


*Normally I would never trouble nettime with such
local frippery, but we Texans are making
political news in Britain.

*I might point out that one deliberate effect of this right-wing
gerrymandering effort is to deprive Austin, my home
and the state's capital, of any federal representation in
Washington. The current President was once Governor here,
but heaven forfend that we (or the Dixie Chicks) should
be allowed to register our Texan discontent. -- bruces

http://www.dailytelegraph.co.uk/

Texas Rangers in pursuit as protest politicians vanish
By David Rennie in Washington
(Filed: 14/05/2003)

Almost the entire Democratic membership of the Texas House of 
Representatives has fled to the neighbouring state of Oklahoma, pursued by 
Texas Rangers.

Arrest warrants were issued on Monday for the return of more than 50 state 
representatives amid rumours that they had flown to New Mexico or New 
Orleans.

The politicians fled Texas rather than be forced to vote on a 
Republican-backed plan to redraw the boundaries of their state's 32 seats 
in the US Congress. Democrats in the state described the bill as a "power 
grab".

The fugitive politicians were finally tracked down at a Holiday Inn in the 
small town of Ardmore, where they were staying under assumed names.

Four Texas police officers, dispatched by the state's Republican governor,
  confronted two dozen of the representatives, but failed to persuade them 
to return. They were unable to press the matter further, lacking the power 
of arrest in Oklahoma.

The dispute has far-reaching consequences for American national politics.

Texas Republicans - who control the state government after more than a 
century of Democratic dominance - have used their power to draw a series of 
bizarrely shaped districts, designed to clump together pockets of 
Republican voters, and split up Democrats. The map is designed to ensure 
that Texas sends up to seven extra Republican congressmen to Washington at 
the 2004 elections.

With Democrats unable to vote down the map, they hatched a plan to flee en 
masse, depriving the 150 seat state house of a quorum, and effectively 
shutting it down
Lawyers were hard at work for both sides yesterday, as enraged Republicans 
struggled to press federal charges against their errant colleagues and drag 
them home by force.

The original plan called for the 53 Democrats to hide out somewhere near 
the state capital, Austin. However, they decided they would swiftly be 
caught, and needed instead to leave the state. Groups of legislators met 
"team leaders" on Sunday, who led them to two coaches, for a midnight flit 
across state lines.

When the walkout was discovered, state police, acting for the House 
sergeant-at-arms, were deputised to seek the Democrats' return, in 
handcuffs if necessary.

Three missing Democrats appeared at the State Capitol yesterday, one of 
them in a police car. Their arrival, and the earlier defection of a group 
of centrist Democrats, brought the number of sitting members to 95 - 
leaving the chamber five members short of a quorum.

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