One day before a high-stakes committee meeting, there were few signs Thursday that state senators were any closer to agreement on how the chamber’s 40 districts should be drawn or numbered to comply with a voter-approved constitutional amendment banning political gerrymandering.
Confusion and controversy continued to swamp the redistricting discussions Wednesday as one Senate Republican leader said he had “lost confidence” in the legal team while the redistricting chairman selected a draft map that several lawmakers said could be rejected by the courts as incumbency protection.
“It is defiant. It is unnecessary”. His proposal, s9084, will become the Senate’s starting point when the committee attempts to vote out a proposed map Friday.
Lawmakers convened the three-week special session on Monday after reaching a settlement agreement with the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and a group of Democrat-leaning plaintiffs who accused them of violating the Fair Districts amendments to the state Constitution.
The Florida Senate’s redistricting committee has approved a map that will go to the Senate floor for a vote next week. “That we know better”.
Proponents of this map, known as SJR 2-C, include Redistricting Committee Chairman Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, and Bradley, the vice chairman.
However, he asaid, “this hasn’t been an easy road for us and I don’t want to be overly optimistic”.
“I think that what we need to really guard against is falling in the same trap that we fell a couple of years ago when we passed our original plan”, Latvala said.
■ The Senate map (9090) will be on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
Once the Senate approves a map design, the House will begin debating it and reserves the right to make changes.
Senators are normally elected to four year terms while House members are on the ballot every two years.
But it’s not clear any map has the votes to pass the Senate floor. Dividing the caucus is a bitter rivalry between Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, over who will be the Senate’s president in 2016.
Latvala, who is not a member of the committee, appeared at the committee Friday to express his displeasure with the map advanced by Galvano, who has pledged his support to Negron.
“What we seem to have done is picked an outlier from the base maps, ” he said. “We’ve take the city of Sarasota, the soul of Sarasota County and separated it”.
Now, “I see history repeating itself”, said Latvala, who’s seeking to be the chamber’s chief after current President Andy Gardiner. He said that of all the base maps produced this was the only one that has “miraculously no incumbents running against each other”.
■ The new Senate map randomly renumbers the districts and will require all 40 seats to be up for election next year. No incumbent will be in the western district now held by Abruzzo. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, a Negron supporter, and Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Culter Bay. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, will be in the same Palm Beach County district. “I mean, that’s all part of the decision-making process”.
The committee also heard from Sen.
■ The map splits Sarasota County into two districts, with the northern portion of the county in Sen.
Questions were also raised about one district crossing Tampa Bay into Pinellas County, after the Florida Supreme Court ruled districts couldn’t cross the bay in a ruling tossing out Florida’s congressional districts.
The Senate settled the suit by admitting fault and agreeing to redraw the lines. The presumption is against us. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs.