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House, Senate will hold 20 hearings on redistricting

by Dara Kam | January 25th, 2011

House and Senate leaders will hold at least 20 public hearings throughout the state regarding the drawing of Florida’s legislative and Congressional seats, Senate Reapportionment Committee Chairman Don Gaetz announced today.

House Speaker Dean Cannon, who yesterday asked to join the lawsuit challenging one of the amendments approved by voters barring lawmakers from drawing districts that favor incumbents or parties, has yet to appoint his members to the House’s redistricting committee.

But Gaetz said that should happen soon and that the House and Senate will hold joint meetings around the state to get the public’s input on the new districts.

Florida lawmakers should be able to begin drawing new districts as early as the end of March when the block-by-block census data is scheduled to be released.

Lawmakers draw the new districts for legislative and Congressional seats every 10 years.

But they’ll have to do it differently this year based on two amendments overwhelmingly approved by voters in November that bar lawmakers from drawing districts that favor incumbents or parties.

Days after he took office, Gov. Rick Scott withdrew the state’s request to the feds to sign off on the amendments. Florida is one of several states that require U.S. Department of Justice approval before any changes are made to voting rights and elections.

Lawmakers fiercely opposed the amendments last year and tried to put their own redistricting amendment on the ballot to counteract Amendments 5 and 6, or the “Fair Districts” amendments, placed on the ballot through the petition initiative process. But the Florida Supreme Court threw out the legislature’s amendment, ruling it was misleading to voters.

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3 Responses to “House, Senate will hold 20 hearings on redistricting”

  1. Jill Quincy Says:

    Dara, please stay on this story

  2. Al Vazquez Says:

    Our new criminal governor Scott has “pulled” the new Fair Districting Amendments to our Constitution – probably the fairest, most non-partisan, enlightened amendments ever created and approved by the citizens of my home state. You’ll see this horrible man impeached before his term is up.

  3. Voter Says:

    LANGUAGE is a consideration for redisricting.

    Isn’t the language of the USA English?

    Time to get rid of the radicals who placed this on the ballot.

    Time to rid S FL of the democrats in political power. Let’s oust them in 2012.

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