Florida Supreme Court Throws Out Congressional Maps

Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service | 07/09/2015

In a strongly worded opinion, the state’s highest court told lawmakers they did not follow the publics will in redrawing the state’s congressional districts. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the decision is a victory for voters.

More than 6 of every ten voters told lawmakers in 2010 that they wanted congressional and state legislative maps drawn without concern for party or individual legislators. Then, when the redistricting process began in 2011, Senate redistricting chairman Don gaetz promised the most open and transparent process in the state’s history.

“Every citizen was listened to respectfully” gaetz told fellow Senators.

But in a strongly worded opinion, the Florida Supreme Court said that was a myth.

The high court court threw out 8 congressional districts which will likely require redrawing the entire state. The court found the districts were draw by Republicans to benefit Republicans. Pamela Goodman, the President of the FL League of Women Voters calls the decision a major victory.

“The message the court sent today…they sent our legislature to the woodshed and they should have. They gave them a firm, firm reprimand” says Goodman.

Jimmy Smith was the only lawmaker at the Capitol on Thursday. He told reporters lawmakers will get it right sooner than later.

“We are experienced at this. We’ve already had people who have, obviously, dealt with the whole mapping process. I don’t think it will be a problem to come up with new maps when it comes time” said Smith.

The Congressional maps are likely just the first domino to fall. The same evidence that proved those maps were drawn illegally is set to be used again, when the state senate maps are challenged this fall.

So far lawmakers have spent more than six million of your tax dollars defending the illegal maps.

Each day of a special session to redraw the maps will cost taxpayers at least 60 thousand dollars, and tens of thousand more to defend the new maps in court


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