Lawmakers to redraw state Senate districts, too

Orlando Sentinel | 07/28/2015

TALLAHASSEE – Already poised to redraw congressional districts next month, legislative leaders announced Tuesday they will convene again from Oct. 19 to Nov. 6 to reshape state Senate districts.

Saying they were prompted by a recent Florida Supreme Court decision throwing out congressional maps, Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, agreed to redraw the Senate maps.

“The recent Florida Supreme Court decision to invalidate eight of Florida’s 27 Congressional Districts introduced new legal precedent. This opinion will govern the ongoing litigation concerning the Senate map adopted by the Legislature on March 27, 2012,” the joint memo from the legislative leaders states.

“Given these implications, the Senate has entered into a stipulation and consent judgment with the Plaintiffs and agreed the enacted Senate map will be revised prior to the 2016 primary and general elections.”

The state Senate maps, adopted in 2012, were challenged by the League of Women Voters, the same voters rights group that challenged the congressional districts. The Legislature essentially agreed with the LWV to redraw the maps to avoid more litigation that would cover much of the same ground already covered by the previous decision on the congressional maps.

The Florida Supreme Court found that GOP consultants and operatives colluded to pass maps favoring the Republican Party, in violation of a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2010. The decision made it more likely the Senate maps would be thrown out.

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