Block-level data needed for redistricting may not be available until after July 31 – at least two months after the regular legislative session ends – according to the latest timeline released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been exacerbated by the need to correct “irregularities” in the data.

Under the Bureau’s original plan, state-level population totals used to apportion the U.S. House of Representatives were due on December 27, and block-level redistricting data were expected to be delivered between February 18 and March 31. Apportionment data is now expected to be released by April 30, said a bureau official during a webinar for the National Conference on State Legislatures. No release was provided for redistricting data, though it is likely to be delayed beyond the July 30 date in the bureau’s COVID-19 plan timeline.

Under state law, the last day the Legislative Redistricting Board may convene is August 29, which would conceivably give the Legislature less than a month to draw new maps during a special session. The last day the LRB may meet is October 28, a little over two weeks before the filing period begins for the 2022 election.

The bureau expects to release geographic boundary data – specifically, block groups and tracts – for Texas on February 9.

Data “irregularities” include issues such as university administrators indicating that all of their student residents live in one building. A Census official said these are normal and not indicative of a lack of data quality.

HD68 special: Former candidates John Berry and Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley endorsed David Spiller for the runoff. Berry and Brinkley finished in third and fourth place, respectively, missing the runoff by 57 and 162 votes, respectively.

Fort Worth: Late last week, the campaign of mayoral candidate Mattie Parker released a list of endorsements including Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth), council member Dennis Shingleton, members of the prominent Bass family, attorney Dee Kelly Jr. (who considered running for mayor but opted against it), former council member Bill Meadows and former U.S. Rep. Pete Geren (D-Fort Worth).

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