Legislative leaders hope to have a new map of the 40 state Senate districts done by 3 p.m. on Nov. 6, according to the official “call” of a special redistricting session scheduled to begin in two weeks. House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, and Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, issued the call Monday for the special session, which will start at noon Oct. 19. Legislative leaders earlier announced the dates of the session, but the call provides formal details. Lawmakers have to draw new Senate districts as part of a settlement with voting-rights organizations and voters who sued to overturn the existing map under the anti-gerrymandering “Fair Districts” redistricting standards approved by voters in 2010. The current map was drawn in 2012, following the once-a-decade U.S. Census.
The Legislature abandoned its defense of the lines in July, shortly after the Florida Supreme Court struck down eight of the state’s 27 congressional districts for violating Fair Districts. An August special session failed to produce an agreement on the congressional map, and Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis is trying to decide which of seven proposed maps, or which combination of those maps, to suggest to the Supreme Court.
In addition to the brief call, Gardiner sent a memo Monday to Senate members reminding them to preserve redistricting records in case the new maps are challenged in court.