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What could happen if House and Senate leaders can't agree on congressional maps

@MichaelAuslen

Could the special session on redistricting end in a House-Senate blowup like the regular session in April?

Senate Democrats have raised the possibility that House leadership will pass the base congressional map drawn by legislative staff and then end the session three days early in an homage to their unanticipated early adjournment that ended the regular session.

But House leaders say don't hold your breath.

“I don’t think that would happen but that is a question of the presiding officers," said Rep. Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, chairman of the House Committee on Redistricting. "As we saw in this last session, it’s always option.”

House Republican Leader Dana Young of Tampa was even clearer in saying an early end to session isn't in the cards.

“I don’t think there’s any concern about that happening," she said. "The plan that we have with the Senate was that the House would meet Monday-Tuesday, would pass whatever it is that we pass and then we would send it to the Senate for them to consider on Wednesday-Thursday, knowing that we may need to come back Friday."

Still, even without an early end to session, it's looking increasingly likely that disagreement between the House and Senate could flare over congressional maps, as they have off and on during health care funding and budget debates since the spring.

A House panel okayed the staff-drawn base map Thursday, setting it up for passage by the whole chamber early next week. But senators have slowed down the process, leaving enough time to consider alternative district configurations.

If the two chambers, both led by Republican majorities, pass different maps, they'll have limited time to come to a compromise. The proclamation for the special session gives lawmakers until noon next Friday, Aug. 21, to agree to new district maps for Florida's 27 congresional seats.

“My understanding is that the presiding officers are talking to try and figure out how they want to proceed,” Young said.

Herald/Times staff writers Steve Bousquet and Mary Ellen Klas contributed to this post.

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