For the second time in three months, the Florida Legislature will turn to the courts to redraw political boundaries needed for next year’s elections after failing to do the job itself, all while running up an $11 million taxpayer tab. Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, closed the special session a day early, saying his chamber had reached the end of its efforts for a Senate redistricting plan. “We did everything we could, and now we’ll wait and see what the court does,” Gardiner said. The session’s anti-climatic ending on Thursday came shortly after the Senate rejected a plan for the 40 districts that had been approved by the House. The vote was 23-16.
Though lawmakers had until today to draw the lines, there was no political will to continue to search for a compromise.
One thing both the House and Senate agreed on, however, was that complying with the Fair Districts amendments passed by voters in 2010 is next to impossible.
“The amendments to our Constitution pulled the soul out of map drawing, pulled the soul out of districts,” said Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, head of the committee in charge of redistricting.