Rich won’t propose redistricting maps; Dems to take chances with courtsby John Kennedy | January 13th, 2012
Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich said Friday that she will not propose alternative maps next week when the Republican-controlled chamber is expected to approve new boundaries for congressional and Senate districts.
Rich said outnumbered Democrats will take their chances that judges — who get to review the redistricting plans — will find the GOP-led effort unconstitutional.
“The court will have the last word,” Rich said.
Earlier this week, Rich said she planned to introduce a Senate Democratic plan modeled heavily on proposals already unveiled by the League of Women Voters, Democracia USA and Common Cause, which slightly reduce the minority voting populations in several districts now represented by black lawmakers.
Rich accused Republicans of “packing” Democrats into districts under the plans now before the Senate. She said the approach violates the voter-approved Amendments 5 and 6, measures, supported by most Democratic legislators and allied groups. The amendments bar district lines from being drawn that help a party or incumbents.
But Rich’s plan to unveil a map as a floor amendment was criticized by Republican senators, who said the move didn’t allow time for the revamped plan to be reviewed. More telling, though, may have been that Rich drew resistence from a few fellow Democrats — with Sen. Larcenia Bullard, D-Miami, critical of any effort that would reduce minority voting strength.
In explaining her decision to drop plans to propose maps, Rich said Friday that in debate before the Senate Reapportionment Committee earlier this week, ”there was so much vitriol, I didn’t want to see that happen on the Senate floor.”