Attorney: Texas redistricting talks have stalled

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Negotiations between minority groups and Texas officials in a lengthy clash over new political districts appeared stalled Monday as both sides prepared to argue in Washington over whether the Republican-drawn maps violate the federal Voting Rights Act.

An attorney for the League of United Latin American Citizens, one of nine groups suing to block the maps, said negotiations to create temporary maps so Texas could salvage an April 3 primary date hit an impasse over the weekend. Both sides have another week to work out a deal, but Luis Vera, LULAC's general counsel, said he was not optimistic.

"It just doesn't seem feasible," he said.

A federal court in San Antonio last week gave the sides until Feb. 6 to draw up the temporary maps that would remain in place through November's election. If they don't, Texas' primaries will be pushed back for a second time. They were originally scheduled for March.

Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for the Texas attorney general's office, said her office was not commenting on the negotiations.

Vera said a major obstacle is that the state isn't involving all parties in the negotiations. Gary Bledsoe, president of the Texas NAACP that is among the nine plaintiffs, said the state was mainly negotiating with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.

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