An important update on Florida’s Redistricting:
Republican leaders in the Florida Legislature on Tuesday asked the federal government to sign off on a pair of voter-approved constitutional amendments requiring lawmakers to draw nonpartisan political districts.
The move comes three months after Gov. Rick Scott drew partisan criticism – and was quickly sued – for quietly withdrawing the application submitted by former Gov. Charlie Crist.
But authors of Amendments 5 and 6 said the new request “contains a number of statements that are clearly intended to undermine the intent” of the changes. The application explains that the changes could potentially hurt minority voting strength, but would not if “properly interpreted.”
Former state Sen. Dan Gelber, a Miami Beach Democrat now affiliated with Fair Districts Now, the group that put the questions on the statewide ballot, said in a statement that he would likely file concerns with the U.S. Department of Justice. …
Scott’s staff, along with attorneys from the House, Senate and Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office, determined the Legislature – not the governor – is the proper authority to submit the application.
Well, Mr. Gelber, tell that to fellow Democrat US Rep. Corrine Brown who disagrees with you:
U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., filed suit Wednesday against a new, voter-approved amendment to the Florida Constitution that sets rules for drawing congressional districts in the state.
Brown, of Jacksonville, joined U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., to file a lawsuit challenging Amendment 6 in federal court in Miami. The lawsuit asks that the amendment be declared invalid and stopped from being enforced. …
Brown and Diaz-Balart claim the new standards set out in Amendment 6 could threaten Florida’s six congressional districts where blacks and Hispanics are either the majority or close to being in the majority, a contention strongly disputed by the amendment’s supporters.
I believe in districts that makes sense, but that they should be drawn by the legislature and should not be subject to court approval. And that will happen, trust me. Someone will see the new districts and find some fault, then sue just because they want to see their name in the newspaper.
The main redistricting hirings won’t take place until summer. The final districts don’t have to be in place until June 2012, so we are taking our time over here. We also have to get through this session before we can even talk about redistricting. However I will try to keep you updated as much as possible.
While we are on the subject, the Florida Redistricting site has 2010 Census data up. So I highly suggest you check it out.
I know I am going completely off subject here, but this so minor an update, it doesn’t need its own entire blog post. A Florida House panel passes a constitutional amendment that will give us a ObamaCare opt-out. It has a long way to go and it will have to be voted on in 2012, but it has started (again) for Florida.
[Cross-Posted On Practical State.com]