Fla. Supreme Court Approves New Florida Senate District Plan

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiam) – The Florida Senate is breathing a collective sigh of relief Friday morning, after learning the Florida Supreme Court signed off on the Senate’s revised re-districting plan. That means all Fl0rida Senate districts are now official, and candidates can file to run within them.

Justices rejected an earlier Senate redistricting proposal but said in Friday’s ruling that the new version met legal standards.

“In this proceeding, we conclude that the opponents have failed to demonstrate that the revised Senate plan as a whole or with respect to any individual district violates Florida’s constitutional requirements,” the majority opinion said.

But Justices James E.C. Perry and Peggy Quince dissented in part of the opinion, arguing that a new District 8 will improperly split black, traditionally Democratic voters in Volusia County. “I would find that redrawn District 8 has clearly been drawn with the intent to favor a political party to the detriment of a racial minority community,” Perry wrote in a dissent that Quince joined.

The high court had unanimously affirmed the  map redrawing Florida House districts, but ruled 5-2 that the original Senate plan violated new anti-gerrymandering standards in part by favoring incumbents and the Republican Party, and sent the legislature back into session to try again.

The version approved by the court Friday specifically addresses only the issues raised by the court, which shot down attempts by election rights group to challenge other parts of the plan during the hearing on the Senate version, Take 2.

Democrats and groups that backed the Fair Districts standards said the revised map still is in violation.

The Legislature said it fixed every flaw cited by the Supreme Court.

Even though the state’s registration is evenly split between the two parties, the redistricting would give the GOP a two-to-one majority in both the House and the Senate.

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