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Senate maps leave Fair District supporters unhappy, GOP nervous

After a long-fought battle to impose redistricting standards, proponents of the Fair Districts constitutional amendments have new maps — and they’re not what they had hoped for.

But the first maps to be voted on by the full Senate this week are not unexpected either.

The maps — one for the state Senate, the other for Congress — each leave intact the controversial minority districts that consolidate Democratic voters in oddly-shaped districts. They have deeply divided the Democratic caucus and have forced Democrats to rely on the court to sort the issue out.

“The Legislature’s proposals were drawn in violation of the new criteria,” said Dan Gelber, a former Democratic state senator from Miami who is now legal counsel to Fair Districts Florida.

The Democrat-leaning Fair Districts group was responsible for gathering petitions to put Amendments 5 and 6 on the November 2010 ballot, and won the support of 63 percent of Florida voters. The anti-gerrymandering amendments prohibit lawmakers from protecting incumbents and political parties, require them to protect minority voting strength and keep county and city boundaries intact whenever possible. Story here

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