House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, and Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, issued a joint proclamation Monday ordering lawmakers to return to the Capitol for a 12-day special session to redraw Congressional districts starting Aug. 10. The Florida Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that GOP consultants colluded with legislative leaders to draw congressional districts that favor Republicans, in violation of a 2010 constitutional amendment known as Fair Districts, which calls for contiguous districts that don’t “favor or disfavor” incumbents, political parties or minorities. In a joint memo, Gardiner and Crisafulli directed legislative redistricting staffers not to have any contact with members of Congress or the Legislature, members’ aides, political consultants or any communications that could be interpreted as favoring a political party. Any conversations are about favoring a political party are to be reported to them.
“If any member of the House or Senate suggests to staff that a plan be changed with the intent to favor or disfavor any incumbent or political party, staff should disregard the suggestion entirely and report in writing the conversation directly to the Speaker or the President, respectively,” the memo states.
The court ruling specifies eight congressional districts – one that stretches from Orlando to Jacksonville, two in the Tampa area and five in South Florida – are in violation of the Fair Districts amendment.
Full Article: Redistricting session set for Aug. 10 – Orlando Sentinel.