District Boundaries Ordinance
Passed and Adopted April 21, 1999
AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING THE BOUNDARIES OF SINGLE MEMBER DISTRICTS FROM WHICH DISTRICT COUNCIL MEMBERS ARE ELECTED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE V, SECTION 3 OF THE CITY CHARTER; MAKING OTHER PROVISIONS RELATED TO THE SUBJECT; CONTAINING A SEVERABILITY PROVISION; AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.
WHEREAS, Article V, Section 3 of the City Charter provides that it shall be the duty of City Council to establish the boundaries of districts covering the entire City for the purpose of electing District Council Members; and
WHEREAS, changes in county election precinct boundaries have resulted in some county election precincts containing territory from more than one ward or district which is prohibited by the Texas Election Code; and
WHEREAS, the reconciliation of city district boundaries to Harris County election precinct boundaries changed the population of City Council districts; and
WHEREAS, the City Council added certain annexed territories to existing City Council districts, by the adoption of City of Houston Ordinance Nos. 98-1008 and 98-1009, but, based on information provided by the Department of Planning and Development, determined that such annexations did not create a material imbalance between the districts;
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF HOUSTON:
Section 1. The City Council does hereby establish new district boundaries for the purpose of electing the District Council Members to the City Council for the City General Election to be held in November 1999 (for terms of office beginning in 2000) and for each subsequent City Election until the City Council shall again establish new district boundaries. Subject to the provisions of this Ordinance, the new district boundaries are the areas within the City of Houston that are also within the voting precincts described in Exhibit "A", which is attached hereto and made a part hereof for all purposes (refers to Who is my Council Member? statistics). The voting precincts referred to in Exhibit "A" are those voting precincts, as they exist as of the date of this Ordinance, established by the Commissioners Court of Harris County, Fort Bend County, and Montgomery County.
Section 2. The City Council hereby determines that the population of each of the districts as described herein is materially balanced.
Section 3. (a) The City Council expressly declares that, if any Harris County, Fort Bend County or Montgomery County voting precinct within the City of Houston is undesignated by Exhibit "A", it is the intent of City Council that the area of the City of Houston included in such voting precinct be included in and designated as a part of the same district that contains the voting precinct that is contiguous to such undesignated precinct; provided, further, that if such endesignated precinct is contiguous to two or more voting precincts within the City of Houston it shall be included and designated a part of the district which includes the voting precinct to which it has the greatest contiguity in terms of lineal feet. (b) The Mayor is authorized and requested, if required, to determine in writing the contiguity of precincts, to determine the lineal feet of each contiguous precinct and to designate the district in which any given precinct is included. When such a written determination by the Mayor is filed in the office of the City Secretary, such determination and designation shall be final.
Section 4. If any provision, section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this Ordinance, or the application of same to any person or set of circumstances is for any reason held to be unconstitutional, void or invalid, the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance or their application to other persons or sets of circumstances shall not be affected thereby, it being the intent of the City Council in adopting this Ordinance that no portion hereof or provision or regulation contained herein shall become inoperative or fail by reason of any unconstitutionality, voidness or invalidity of any other portion hereof, and all provisions of this Ordinance are declared to be severable for that purpose.
Section 5. The City Council officially finds, determines, recites and declares that a sufficient written notice of the date, hour, place and subject of this meeting of the City Council was posted at a place convenient to the public at the City Hall of the City for the time required by law preceding this meeting, as required by the Open Meetings Law, Chapter 551, Texas Government Code; and that this meeting has been open to the public as required by law at all times during which this Ordinance and the subject matter thereof has been discussed, considered and formally acted upon. The City Council further ratifies, approves and confirms such written notice and the contents posting thereof.
Section 6. There exists a public emergency requiring that this Ordinance be passed finally on the date of its introduction as requested in writing by the Mayor; therefore, this Ordinance shall be passed finally on such date and shall take effect immediately upon its passage and approval by the Mayor; however, in the event that the Mayor fails to sign this Ordinance within five days after its passage and adoption, it shall take effect in accordance with Article VI, Section 6, Houston City Charter.