The heads of the House and Senate redistricting committees on Tuesday asked their staff to start developing remedial plans to fix the congressional redistricting plan but added a caveat: they must refrain from any conversation with congressmen and their staff and may not discuss the maps with anyone other than the legislature's legal counsel.
The warnings from state Sen. Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton Republican, and Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, come after legislators were stung by a ruling from Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis last month who concluded that lawmakers allowed Republican political consultants to hijack the redistricting process in 2012 and create a shadow process that "made a mockery" of legislators claims of transparency.
Legislators have convened a special session starting Thursday to fix two districts on the congressional map that Lewis ruled were drawn with unconstitutional partisan intent and were invalid.
Galvano, a former state House member who did not serve in the Legislature when the first congressional map was passed, said in an email to members said he has asked staff "to refrain from discussing their map drawing efforts with anyone outside of the Legislature except our legal counsel and not to share their work product with any outside interests."
Corcoran, R-Trinity, said that "any member wishing to offer a plan or amendment should be prepared to explain in committee or on the House floor the identity of every person involved in drawing, reviewing, directing, or approving the proposal; the criteria used by the map drawers; and the sources of any data used in the creation of the map other than the data contained in MyDistrictBuilder."
Meanwhile, both expect a quick fix to the map -- a sign they are unlikely to make any significant changes -- and the session is expected to be adjourned on Monday or Tuesday.
Here's Cororan's memo. Download Procedure for Special Session on Congressional Reapportionment
Here's Galvano's memo: