The House redistricting committee voted along party lines Monday to approve its version of new districts for the state Senate, potentially setting up a battle with the upper chamber as a special session on the map entered its final week. On a 9-4 vote, the Select Committee on Redistricting’s Republican majority pushed through a proposal by Chairman Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, that sets aside a compromise on South Florida seats struck in the Senate last week. That compromise, which supporters say protected Hispanic voting strength but opponents said was a crass political move, helped boost a plan that passed the Senate on a narrow 22-18 margin.
Speaking to reporters after Monday’s meeting, Oliva said he was trying to answer both the concerns of the Senate and two voting-rights organizations that brought a legal challenge against the current map, drawn in 2012. The Legislature eventually settled that suit, saying it was likely that the 2012 plan would be found in violation of a voter-approved ban on political gerrymandering.
That settlement led to the current three-week redistricting special session now in the home stretch.
The dueling plans for the Senate map seemed to echo a confrontation about whether and where to tweak congressional lines during an August special session over the lines for the state’s U.S. House delegation.