It’s no secret that the infighting within the Republican ranks in the Florida Senate has led to a bitter contest between Sen. Joe Negron of Stuart Jack Latvala of Clearwater over who will lead the Senate in 2016. Now, it appears, dissension is mounting over how Senate leaders are handling the legal argument as the Legislature meets in special session to resolve its differences over redistricting. On Monday, Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, emerged as a critic of the decision by Senate redistricting lawyers to propose a series of draft maps without showing how they repair the flaws alleged by the challengers in the lawsuit. The Legislature was sued by the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and a group of Democrat-leaning individuals for violating the anti-gerrymandering provisions of the Florida Constitution when it drew the 2012 Senate reapportionment boundaries.
Lee accused the Senate lawyers of “not being on solid legal footing” because whenever he asks them a question “all I get is squid ink…Some legal mumbo jumbo.”
On Tuesday, Latvala piled on. It appears that both Latvala and Negron supporters would benefit from the decision by Senate lawyers to argue that senators now elected to four-year terms do not have to seek re-election in 2016, even if their districts are redrawn this session.