The Florida Senate’s redistricting committee has approved a map that will go to the Senate floor for a vote next week. The new state Senate districts have been randomly numbered, which now makes it a “legal reality” that all senators will have to run for re-election in 2016, according to the committee chair, Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton. Galvano had previously maintained that senators not up for re-election would not have to run as long as the new district populations were somewhat similar to the old and the districts were numbered the same. But that contentious theory has now been put aside.
… The upcoming floor vote in the Senate, which should take place early next week, will see Democrats try to argue for a map that includes district lines that don’t cross Tampa Bay. Such a map was offered to the committee Friday by state Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, but he withdrew it when it became clear it didn’t have the votes to pass the committee.
But it’s not clear any map has the votes to pass the Senate floor.
… The major point of contention next week will be how much tinkering the Senate can do to the map. During congressional redistricting, the House redistricting chair, state Rep. Jose Oliva, R-Miami, insisted on only minimal changes to the base map created in seclusion by legislative staff. Senators, however, believed the legislature should have a greater role in crafting the final product.