Legislative Session Coverage
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – If redistricting maps are approved by the Florida Legislature, voters in the Keys will bid good bye to U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
According to the proposed maps Ros-Lehtinen’s constituents would be in a new district, District 27 which will be centered around Miami and no longer include Monroe County, according to the Florida Keys Keynoter. Ros-Lehtinen has represented the Keys since 2002.
Monroe County will be included in a new District 26 which also includes western Miami-Dade and eastern Collier County.
The House approved the maps on Friday and the Senate will take them up this coming week.
Senate leaders have indicated they hope to take up the maps and approve the changes as soon as Tuesday.
After that, the state legislative plan will head to the Florida Supreme Court for its approval while the congressional proposal goes to Gov. Rick Scott. Those approvals are not expected to be the last word, as one or both maps are likely to face challenges under either state or federal laws.
The state was forced to re-draw boundaries because of population shifts found in the 2010 US Census. By law, each congressional district must carry an equal number of voters. If we increase population, as Florida did, districts must be added to comply.
The Senate map is likely to come under fire for being extraordinarily helpful to the chamber’s incumbents.
“It can’t be just a coincidence that every one, every single one — not just most of them — every single one had a district that improved for their re-election chances,” said House Minority Leader Ron Saunders, D-Key West. “When Amendment 5 specifically says you’re not supposed to protect incumbents, I would at least think that’s an issue.”
House Democrats also argue that their chamber’s map should more closely follow the partisan makeup of the state, where Democrats hold an edge in voter registration but Republicans hold an overwhelming advantage in the House, Senate and congressional delegation.
In 2010, Gov. Rick Scott won 73 House districts under the new maps while his Democratic opponent won just 47.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.