Judge To Redraw Florida's Congressional Maps After Legislature Fails To Reach Deal

Greg Allen | NPR | 08/21/2015

A Florida judge will draw up new maps for the state's 27 congressional districts.

After meeting in a two-week special session, Florida's House and Senate adjourned without agreeing on what the maps, ordered by the State Supreme Court, should look like.

This was the Florida Legislature's third attempt to draw congressional maps that comply with the state Constitution. Under an amendment adopted by voters in 2010, Florida's Legislature must compile maps for congressional and legislative districts that don't protect incumbents or political parties.

But although Florida's House and Senate are both controlled by Republicans, the two bodies were unable to come to an agreement. They adjourned amid acrimony between House and Senate leaders. It was an atmosphere similar to that when the regular session ended in April with an impasse over whether to expand Medicaid. Republican leaders denied that feud carried over into this special session.

With the failure of the Legislature to produce new maps, the job of shaping Florida's 27 congressional districts now falls to state Judge Terry Lewis, who has ordered hearings in September.

Even though finalized congressional maps are still at least a month away, redistricting has already shaken up next year's races in Florida. After the State Supreme Court said Florida's 13th Congressional was one of several to be redrawn, Republican Rep. David Jolly announced he would not run for re-election. Instead, he joined the race for the seat being vacated by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. When it's redrawn, Jolly's district is expected to lean Democratic. Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Democrat who lives in the district, now says he's likely to run.

Redistricting is also likely to affect several other incumbents in Florida, including Republican Daniel Webster, whose 10th Congressional District near Orlando is likely to lean Democratic when redrawn. Florida's 2nd Congressional District is expected to become more Republican. Democratic first-termer Gwen Graham says she is waiting to see final maps before making a final decision on whether to run for re-election.

The breakdown in Tallahassee over congressional maps is a preview of what may be another dysfunctional special session of the Legislature set for October. The Legislature is reconvening then to draw up new maps for state Senate seats after agreeing in court that those also had improperly injected politics into the redistricting process.

Legal battle over state Senate districts coming to an end

TALLAHASSEE - A contentious battle over Florida state senate districts is coming to an end. read more »

Senate won't appeal redistricting ruling

Clearing the way for elections later this year with a map that could boost Democrats' numbers in the Senate, Republican leaders decided Wednesday not to appeal a Leon County judge's ruling setting districts for the chamber's 40 seats. read more »

Florida Senate won't appeal ruling on new districts

TALLAHASSEE — Senate leaders said Wednesday that they will not appeal last month's court ruling that sided with a voters' coalition in setting new district boundaries. read more »

Florida Legislature won't appeal redistricting ruling

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Legislature is giving up the fight and will not contest a court ruling that redraws all of the state's 40 state senate districts for the 2016 election cycle. read more »

Editorial: Republicans should accept redistricting defeat and drop talk of appeals

For a brief moment last week it appeared the Florida Legislature had come to its senses and was willing to accept a judge's ruling on the boundaries for new state Senate districts. read more »

Renumbering state Senate districts triggers political scramble

TALLAHASSEE — It may sound like a simple process, but the Florida Senate's random renumbering of all its districts statewide Tuesday touched off a series of complicated twists that one key lawmaker said only adds more chaos to a continuing redistricting saga. read more »