With just four days left until the end of a special session called to redraw the state’s congressional map, the Senate Reapportionment Committee on Monday approved a plan that changes lines for districts in Southwest and Central Florida, setting up a potential collision with the House. Even as members of the House rejected an amendment to a “base map” developed by legislative staff members ahead of the session, the Senate panel approved on a voice vote new boundaries proposed by Sen. Tom Lee, a Brandon Republican and former Senate president. Lawmakers returned to Tallahassee last week following a July ruling by the Florida Supreme Court striking down eight of the state’s 27 congressional districts for violating the anti-gerrymandering “Fair Districts” standards approved by voters in 2010. It is the first of two redistricting sessions scheduled to be held this year. Another is needed to redraw Senate lines after a lawsuit dealing with those districts was settled after the Supreme Court decision on the congressional plan.
The proposed map approved Monday by the Senate committee addresses two concerns raised by lawmakers in the Tampa Bay area and Southwest Florida.
First, it would consolidate eastern Hillsborough County into one congressional district shared with the northwest corner of Polk County.
And second, it would put all of Sarasota County into the same district, one that also includes western Manatee County and the far southwestern corner of Hillsborough.
Full Article: Senate, House members on redistricting collision course.