Legislature being called back to Tallahassee in emergency session

Tampa Bay Business Journal | 08/04/2014

In a move one lawmaker is calling unprecedented, the Florida Legislature is being called back to Tallahassee Thursday to deal with drawing new congressional district maps.

The week-long special session was confirmed earlier Sunday evening by Sen.Jack Latvala.

“It has never happened,” he said about the summer session designed to redraw districts after a high-impact ruling Friday by Leon County Judge Terry Lewis. In it, he directed the Legislature to submit a remedial congressional map by noon on August 15.

Then in a letter to members of the Legislature sent later Sunday evening, Speaker of the House Will Weatherfordconfirmed the session for “exclusive purpose of reapportioning Florida’s Congressional Districts.”

“We continue to maintain our strong objection to any attempt to disrupt the current election process,” he said in the email obtained by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

In July, Lewis declared two of Florida’s 27 congressional districts invalid. Seats held by U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, were in violation of the Fair District rules approved by voters in 2010 because they were drawn to benefit Republicans, according to the ruling.

Lewis concluded that leaders in the Florida Legislature had destroyed documents and he found that a conspiracy existed among Republican political consultants, according to reporting by the Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times.

Later this week, members of the House and Senate redistricting committees will stay to work out the details of the revised map, a report Sunday from the Tampa Bay Times said.

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