Legislature

Ron DeSantis map creates tension with legislature over redistricting process

Governor’s decision Ron DeSantis bureau to submit a redistricting proposal for Florida’s congressional map may be unprecedented. But what will lawmakers do with the proposal?

Ryan Newman, General Counsel of the Governor’s Office, Unannounced submitted a card (P0079) for Florida’s 28 congressional districts.

“We have legal issues with the congressional redistricting maps pending in the Legislature,” Newman said in a statement to Florida Politics.

“We have submitted an alternative proposal, which we can support, that meets federal and state requirements and addresses our legal concerns, while striving to increase district compactness, minimize county splits where possible and protect minority voting populations. Since the Governor must approve any Congressional map passed by the Legislature, we wanted to provide our proposal as soon as possible and in a transparent manner. »

But the map came out just three days before the Florida Senate was tasked with reviewing its own congressional map. The Senate Redistribution Committee last week advanced a card (S 8058) which had been in the works for months.

That said, sen. Ray Rodrigues, Republican Estero chairing that committee, said all submissions were welcome.

“At our very first meeting in September, when we announced a joint website with the Chamber, we encouraged any Floridians interested in participating to go to the redistricting website to submit a map. That seems to be what the executive office did.

representing Tom leek, chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, could not be reached for comment.

It should be noted that maps from the House or Senate receive special designations among publicly available submissions. The governor’s office proposal simply falls under public submissions, with the office listed as an affiliated organization, as would occur with a submission from any outside interest group.

But obviously, it’s not just any outdoor party. While the legislative maps generated by the Legislative Assembly this year will go into effect without the Governor’s involvement, the Congressional map will land on the Governor’s desk for his signature.

“I can’t say what deference the card will be given in this process in either chamber,” Rodrigues said. “Obviously we recognize that he holds the pen of veto.”

This makes Newman’s statement about “legal concerns” particularly disturbing.

Meanwhile, some conservatives have complained that the Senate cards are not seeking U.S. House seats for Republicans. The draft Senate map for floor discussion and possible vote on Wednesday has 16 districts that opted for Republicans donald trump in the 2020 presidential election. That’s the same number of US House seats that Republicans already control in Florida.

But the Fair Districts amendment to the Florida constitution prohibits cards favoring or disfavoring a political party. Additionally, the governor’s office map was immediately met with skepticism because the draft eliminates some minority access districts, leading to potential legal challenges under the Voting Rights Act. Latino Justice has previously said it will challenge the Senate map because it does not seek to increase predominantly Hispanic or actually Hispanic districts.

democrat lawyer Marc Elias, who has tried election-related cases nationwide, suggested on Twitter that DeSantis’ office map was asking for litigation.

“I look forward to my team dropping him and his team to fully understand the illegal partisan motivations behind this map,” he posted.

Rodrigues said more than anything, the submission serves as a reminder that the legislature still has a lot to accomplish in the once-a-decade redistribution process. For the Congressional map, the Senate and House must approve the maps and then come together on a final bill. This can be dismissed by DeSantis. But even if the governor signs it into law, the map will still be subject to judicial review before it goes into effect for the 2022 election cycle.

“There seems to be a view that because a chamber has a map, what we’re doing, we’re at a point in the process where we’re finishing it and we’re done or almost done,” Rodrigues said. “I must point out that we are at the very beginning of the process, although the staff have done a lot of work.”


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