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Beginning in 1983, Texas congressional districts may have the strong imprint of US House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. The veteran Massachusettes Democrat, whose home state gave birth to the congressional "gerrymander" more than a century and a half ago, huddled last week with Billy Clayton, speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. The project: recarve the Lone Star State into 27 congressional districts, three more than its current total.

Texas lawmakers open a special session of the legislature July 13 to wrestle with redistricting, caused by the big population gain the state showed in the 1980 federal census. The current alignment heavily favors O'Neill's party -- 19 Democrats and 5 Republican s.m

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