By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The Sunshine State took its first step in drawing new political maps on Wednesday, and other than adding a new congressional district in a Republican area of the state, Senate staff proposed maps aren’t overtly gerrymandered.

The Senate released four staff produced maps that carve out Florida’s new congressional district in an area between Tampa and Orlando, but otherwise left most districts intact beyond necessary changes to add what will be the state’s 28th congressional district. Florida’s population growth of 2.7 million new residents between 2010 and 2020 led to the new seat in the once-every-decade redistricting process.

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While the maps appear to adhere to a voter-approved constitutional amendment, the process is far from over. The House also has to propose maps, and senators can decide to scrap its staff recommendations and approve completely different maps.

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The Senate has vowed to follow the constitution, which requires contiguous districts that aren’t drawn to favor a political party or incumbent. That promise was made after a three-year court battle the last time the state drew political maps.

The state Supreme Court threw out the Republican-led Legislature’s maps, which were drawn with the help of state Republican party consultants. This year, the Senate said staff only consulted with lawyers in producing the draft maps.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.) Team