Maybe it's all about October?
In the ideological divide that has led to stalemate over the congressional redistricting map, Republican leaders in the House have argued that the Senate map lacks "consistency."
The proposed Senate plan no longer divides Hillsborough and Sarasota counties, but it creates a new division by shifting the Orlando-based district, now held by U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, into Lake County.
Republicans in the Senate have staunchly defended the Senate's position. Even Sen. Bill Galvano, Senate Reapportionment Committee chairman, argues it is the preferred approach, even though his home county remains more whole in the House's map than the Senate's.
The House argues that by failing to apply the same standards across the map, the Senate risks having the court reject its map. The Senate counters that the House's base map, as drawn by staff, fails to include the legislative input essential to the redistricting process.
If the Senate wins, the court confirms that notion that a map can reflect the regional input of local legislators inconsistently without violating the redistricting standards as interpreted by the court. That's important as lawmakers prepare to redraw the Senate map in October. (Remember, it was the Senate that admitted to violating the Fair Districts provisions and called for the session to revise the Senate map. The House remained silent.)
If the House wins, the call for consistency will prevail.
“We are not here to set precedent,'' said Rep. Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, the House Reapportionment Committee chairman. "After the Senate admitted violating the law, we now are here to comply with the law. So therefore no rational will be acceptable in one part of the map but not in another. It has to be consistently applied."
The Senate has understandably more at stake than the House during that exercise. Notes Oliva: “I won’t be here five or six years from now. I’m never running for Senate under any circumstances."