Signaling a new sense of cooperation between lawyers for the Legislature and a coalition of voters groups over redistricting, a hearing to organize the trial schedule for the congressional map lasted just over three minutes Monday as both sides hinted that an early accord is likely.
“I think there’s a high likelihood, with the specific direction that the Legislature has from the Supreme Court, that maybe we won’t need a long remedial hearing,’’ said David King, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, which include the League of Women Voters and Common Cause of Florida.
King and lawyers for the House and Senate agreed to trial schedule for the new congressional map that ends on Sept. 25.
“Thanks for being so agreeable,’’ said Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis, as the hearing adjourned.
Meanwhile, the ruling that invalidated the congressional map is also provoking discussions over a possible settlement in the Senate map, as the Herald/Times reported first last week.
After the brief hearing on the congressional map, the lawyers for the House, Senate and the plaintiffs – along with a private court reporter – congregated in a conference room in the LeonCounty courthouse.
Senate spokewoman Katie Betta said the meeting related to “attorney client” privilege and was not open to reporters.
They lawyers met for 10 minutes and emerged without comment.
“They’re talking about pending litigation with regard to the Senate maps,’’ said Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, chairman of the Senate redistricting committee. “I’m not going to comment on that because it’s pending litigation.”
When asked if discussions are underway for a settlement, he said: “I’m not going to comment on that.”
King also would not comment.
“I really can’t say, I’m sorry but we’ll see happens soon,” he said.