The Florida Legislature is giving up the fight and will not contest a court ruling that redraws all of the state’s 40 state senate districts for the 2016 election cycle. Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, said he told Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, on Wednesday that the Legislature should let court-ordered maps go into effect, even though he says there were legal issues that were open to appeal. “My recommendation is for us not to appeal, and the Senate president has agreed,” Galvano said. The decision means that the state’s new map will become official on Feb. 8, when the clock runs out on the appeals process. It is the first time lawmakers have refrained from challenging a lower court ruling after four years of legal battles that have cost Florida taxpayers more than $11 million.
The new Senate map recasts Florida’s political landscape, giving millions of people new representation and bolstering Democratic chances in 2016. It also ends a tumultuous process that led to four trials, three special sessions and eight rulings from the Florida Supreme Court.
Democratic party analysts say the new maps are fairer and gives them a better chance of winning additional seats in a Florida Senate that has been dominated by the Republican Party for most of the last two decades. Republicans now hold 26 seats in the 40-member chamber and Democrats hold 14. With 15 members leaving because of term limits or seeking other offices, the composition of the chamber could shift dramatically.
Full Article: Legislature won’t appeal redistricting ruling | Miami Herald.