End to Texas Redistricting Fight Pleases Bush

Republican Gov. Rick Perry (search) on Monday signed a congressional redistricting (search) bill designed to put more Republicans in the Texas congressional delegation.

The new map becomes effective in 90 days.

Republicans have said that under the map they could gain as many as six additional seats in Texas' 32-member congressional delegation that is ruled 17-15 by Democrats. Democrats said the map would add seven Republicans.

The six-month redistricting effort ignited bitter partisan fighting that resulted in two Democratic walkouts and a deep divide in the Texas Legislature (search).

But President Bush said Monday that all redistricting disputes in Texas have been divisive.

"I'm glad the issue is over, and they need to move on," the former Texas governor said.

The Texas Senate approved a congressional redistricting map Sunday, two days after the House signed off on the plan. Both chambers adjourned Sunday from the third special legislative session.

"I mean if you look back, I can remember the battles in the 90s and 80s and people who perceived they didn't do well would complain about the partisanship, and hopefully they can get this issue behind them, they being both parties, and move forward with good policy for Texas," Bush said.

Bush said he has not seen the details of the new plan.

Perry also signed a bill that would push back the Texas primary to March 9 and a sweeping government reorganization bill that was approved by the Legislature on Sunday.

"Texas legislators just completed the most successful session in decades," Perry said. "I am very proud of the conservative record we have established for balancing the budget without raising taxes, passing historic and sweeping tort reform that will save jobs, expand business opportunities and improve Texans access to health care."

Also Monday, Perry's political arm, Texans for Rick Perry, distributed an "Urgent Request for Action," urging citizens to send Perry and other Republican lawmakers thank-you letters for their redistricting effort. The e-mail includes a fill-in-the-blank form letter saying that the state of Texas owes a "debt of gratitude" to Republicans.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Jesse Jackson (search) criticized Perry's signing of the redistricting bill as an affront to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (search).

"This is the reason why the right to vote cannot remain a states right but must be federally protected," Jackson said. "We must be prepared to go back to mass demonstration to diminish the effects of this."

Jackson said he will be meeting with state officials in the future to "resist what the governor has done."

"From the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, it took until the 1990 census to stop gerrymandering, voting intimidation schemes. This is an unbroken line of power-grabbing schemes," he said.