Legislature rejects congressional request for redistricting hearings

Orlando Sentinel | Orlando Sentinel | 07/17/2015

Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli turned down a request Friday from 15 members of Congress to hold statewide public hearings before the Legislature draws new congressional districts.

Republican and Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to legislative leaders on Thursday asking for the hearings.

Last week the state Supreme Court ruled the state's congressional maps don't meet the requirements of a voter-approved constitutional amendment that prohibits political lines from being drawn to favor incumbents or a political party.

The court gave the Legislature 100 days to change the boundaries of eight existing districts. These changes could affect many more of the state's 27 congressional districts.

Lawmakers are expected to hold a special session in the next few weeks.

Crisafulli in a statement said legislators don't have enough time to hold hearings. He said instead that legislators will take public testimony at the state

Fifteen of Florida's 27 members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, sent the letter to the Florida Legislature's leaders urging them to hold the hearings.

Some other Congress members whose districts also are likely to be significantly affected, including Republican David Jolly and Democrats Ted Deutch and Gwen Graham, did not sign.

The letter was signed by Brown and Democrats Alcee Hastings, Alan Grayson, Kathy Castor, Lois Frankel, Frederica Wilson, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz; and Republicans Ted Yoho, Jeff Miller, John Mica, Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Curbelo, Ander Crenshaw, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Daniel Webster.

Posey, Brown, Grayson, Mica and Webster represent Central Florida.

Grayson, DeSantis and Murphy all are running for the U.S. Senate, rather than re-election.

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