Legislative leaders Monday announced a mid-August special session to redraw the state’s congressional districts, a process that will include a handful of transparency measures, after the Florida Supreme Court ruled the last version were illegally drawn for partisan advantage. Deliberations during the August 10 through 21 special legislative session will begin from a “base map” drawn by legislative staff and legal counsel. Elected officials will not be involved in that initial process. The Senate redistricting committee will be led by Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano of Bradenton, while state Rep. Jose Oliva of Miami will chair the House committee. He replaces state Rep. Richard Corcoran of Land O’Lakes, who led the House redistricting committee during a special session last summer that was required after the court tossed lawmaker’s first congressional map.
They will first focus on redrawing eight districts the court ruled were drawn to favor Republicans, which violated anti-gerrymandering provisions in the state constitution. Because each change will impact neighboring seats, it’s likely many of the 27 congressional seats will be affected by the changes.
A joint memo from House Speaker Steve Crisafuli of Merritt Island and Andy Gardiner of Orlando also outlines steps being put in place to ensure outside political consultants cannot impact the process, after Florida’s Supreme Court cited email correspondence and documents from consultants as evidence the maps were drawn with “unconstitutional intent.”