The head of the Senate redistricting committee testified Wednesday that he had no idea the map he submitted to the court gave Republicans a potential three-vote majority in the Senate and paired the fewest incumbents of any other proposal.
"I don’t know how clear I can make it. We did not …analyze where members live,’’ said Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, under oath in the redistricting trial over the Senate map.
The rare testimony of a sitting senator occurred as the Senate attempts to defend the map it submitted to the court after agreeing in July that the map it produced in 2012 violated the anti-gerrymandering provisions of the Florida Constitution.
The Senate is trying to show that maps proposed by the challengers violate the constitution because they were drawn with the intention of helping Democrats, while the challengers -- a coalition of voter groups led by the League of Women Voters -- are trying to show the Senate maps intentionally favor Republicans.
Leon County Circuit Court Judge George Reynolds will decide who is right and must recommend a map to the Florida Supreme Court for approval that will be used to determine the Senate’s 40 districts for the 2016 elections. He has suggested that he is prepared to pick and choose pieces of the map and “stitch” pieces together on his own.
Because legislators failed to agree to a map during a three-week special session, Galvano submitted a map he had instructed the staff director of the Senate redistricting committee to prepare. Galvano testified that his draft map merged two "base" maps that had been drawn by staff without input from senators. He said he intended to use it as a possible amendment during session, he said, but discarded it after the Senate agreed on a different proposal.