Fla. Senate Redistricting Map Heads To House
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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A revised redistricting map created by the Florida Senate during a special session goes to the Florida House on Tuesday.
During the last legislative session the Florida Supreme Court unanimously approved House map but ruled the Senate plan violated new anti-gerrymandering standards. The majority ruled in part that it intentionally favored incumbents and Republicans.
A 15 day special session to come up with an acceptable Senate map was called by the governor.
The House is expected to defer to the Senate and give the plan the go ahead, at which point the Supreme Court will again review the Senate proposal.
In a likely preview of the floor fight, the plan passed the House Redistricting Committee on a party-line, 13-7 vote Monday. Republicans hailed the plan as a better attempt at following the Fair Districts plan than the upper chamber’s last effort.
“The Senate responded to what the court asked and it’s time to send this map on to the court,” said Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne.
Democrats were less impressed, saying that the Senate map still seemed to be aimed at protecting incumbents while pretending to comply with the new standards. They pointed out that only two incumbents appeared to be headed for a primary challenge under the Senate plan.
“While it is better, I’m not quite sure if it gets us over the hump at the Supreme Court,” said Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach.
Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, said some members of his county’s delegation were likely to raise concerns about the lack of a fourth district in Miami-Dade likely to elect a Hispanic senator.
But he also tamped down expectations that the concerns raised by members like House Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera, R-Miami, would lead to an amendment that could break the “gentlemen’s agreement” between the two chambers.
House Redistricting Chairman Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said he was also working to ease the concerns of lawmakers with problems about the map — including Lopez-Cantera.
“Whenever you’re drawing maps, there’s always going to be concern,” he said. “Nobody ever gets what they want and that’s kind of part of the process.”
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report