As House members convene to discuss proposed changes to a Senate redistricting map this afternoon, questions are emerging about what was the intent behind the changes.
In the House's proposed Duval County-based African American minority access district, for example, the black voter registration is dropped below any level previously proposed in a base map drawn by House and Senate staff.
"I can't wait to hear the explanation,'' said Sen. Audrey Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat who now holds the seat. "It's comical and certainly unnecessary,'' she said.
Her current district includes a black voting age population of 43 percent and the proposed Senate map, and similar proposal by the redistricting challengers, lowered that to 42.7 percent but under the map proposed by House Redistricting Chairman Jose Oliva, the percentage drops to 41 percent.
"I’m not sure what the overall strategy is there,'' Gibson told the Herald/Times. "Is his intention to have two Republicans represent Duval in the way he has it drawn? But every time you chip away you chip away at the ability of minorities to elect a candidate of your choice."