House panel throws out proposal to revert to old Congressional district maps

Tampa Bay Times Staff | Tampa Bay Times | 08/14/2015

It didn't take long for the House's redistricting panel on Thursday to do away with Rep.Mike Hill's plan to revert Florida's congressional districts to the thrown-out map lawmakers drew in 2012.

Hill, a Pensacola Republican, brought the plan forward because, he said, the separation of powers limits the state Supreme Court's power to overrule the Legislature on congressional districts.

"It is right and just that the Legislature assume its proper role pursuant to the separation of powers granted under Section 2, Article II of the State Constitution to deny the request of the Supreme Court of Florida that the Legislature redraw the state's congressional districts," Hill's amendment reads.

But just after Hill expounded on his convictions based on oaths to protect the constitutions of the U.S. and the state of Florida, taken as a member of the Florida House and the Air Force, House Redistricting Chairman Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, called it out of order.

The proclamation by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner that convened the special session calls only for proposed changes to district maps in line with the state Supreme Court's ruling that the current districts violate constitutional Fair District amendments.

From the proclamation:

2. That the Legislature is convened for the sole and exclusive purpose of considering revisions to Chapter 8, Florida Statutes, as amended by Chapters 2012-2 and 2014-255, Laws of Florida, which establishes the congressional districts of the state, to amend Congressional Districts 5, 13, 14, 21, 22, 25, 26, and 27 consistent with the Florida Supreme Court opinion in League of Women Voters of Fla., et al. v. Detzner, et al., SC 14-1905, (Fla. July 9, 2015) and to make conforming changes to districts that are a direct result of the changes to the referenced Congressional Districts.

Because Hill's proposal didn't align with the Court's direction, it would have to be added to the proclamation, which requires two-thirds of the full House and Senate to approve.

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