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Legislature faces tough timeline to finish redistricting

The Senate's redistricting guru, John Guthrie, told the Senate Reapportionment Committee on Thursday that the timeline for finishing its work will be compressed and difficult, based on the tentative schedule before them.

Florida expects to get the population data from the 2010 census shortly before Christmas this year, and if the number is expected to be 19 million, the state will have its work cut out for it to carve in two new Congressional districts and rearrange the legislative boundaries, Guthrie said.

The timeline will look like this:

* Summer 2011, legislature conducts hearings around the state to get public input

* Jan. 10, 2012, legislature meets for its 60-day legislative session.

* March 9, 2012, session ends

* March 10, 2012, legislature petitions the Florida Supreme Court for its required review of the districts; the court has 30 days

* April 16, 2012, the FSC completes its review and legislature sends the redistricting plan to the U.S. Department of Justice for its required review; the DOJ has 60 days

* June 18 districts are finalized and candidates may start qualifying for newly drawn districts.