For a brief moment last week it appeared the Florida Legislature had come to its senses and was willing to accept a judge’s ruling on the boundaries for new state Senate districts. But that proved to be nothing more than wishful thinking. After indicating there would be no appeal, the Republicans behind the failed Senate redistricting maps say they are considering a number of avenues to appeal. That would surely add to the $8 million in legal fees the Legislature has wasted over several years trying to gain approval of the flawed maps it produced. For the sake of the taxpayers, if nothing else, legislative leaders should end the redistricting battle and begin implementing the Senate map Circuit Judge George Reynolds approved last week. Not only would it save tax dollars and end years of chaos, it would mean the state will finally have Senate districts that adhere to the Fair District amendments voters passed in 2010.
The amendments instruct lawmakers to draw the district boundaries fairly and without benefit to a particular political party or incumbent office holder. Where practical, the boundaries must be compact and follow city or county boundaries.
The once-a-decade task of redistricting falls to the Legislature. But its failure to adhere to the Fair Districts amendments led to legal challenges by the League of Women Voters and other voter-rights groups. Time and again, the courts have ruled in favor of the voter-rights groups.