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Offended panel approves new district maps

The Florida House Redistricting Committee approved new maps for state House and Senate and Congressional districts this morning…but as Rick Stone reports, not without some fireworks.


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The committee spent much of the morning adjusting boundary lines to make sure that as many cities and counties as possible were kept intact in single districts. That's one of the requirements of the Fair Districts amendments that voters approved to reduce gerrymandering.

Hours before, committee chairman Will Weatherford got a 12-page letter from the League of Women Voters and two other organizations, accusing the committee of violating Fair Districts to preserve Republican dominance. When the league's lobbyist, who was seated among the spectators,  refused to explain the letter, Weatherford hit the roof. 

Frankly I find it disappointing that anyone would suggest, first calling our maps, in a derogatory manner, explaining they don't follow the letter of the law and then refusing to get up and explain to us how theirs does..

 The League -- along with Common Cause and the National Council of LaRaza -- did include maps of its own which Weatherford proposed as amendments. The committee rejected them unanimously. But committee Democrats all voted no on the final work product. Representative Evan Jenne of Broward County said the maps do not reflect Florida's reality.

 Floridians are pretty much 50-50 when it comes to their voter registration. And at the end of the day I think you will still see a very strong Republican majority.

The new district maps are now ready for a House floor vote next week. Similar maps are coming up through the Senate. 

Rick Stone