House Committee Advances Redistricting Bill

Apr 25, 2017

The House Judiciary committee is advancing a bill regarding redistricting. It adds restrictions on voting districts and when people can challenge them.

New rules on how legal challenges to newly drawn legislative districts would work cleared their first hurdle in the Florida House on Wednesday after the full Senate passed along its version of the same bill.

A state Senate redistricting plan favored by voting-rights organizations was approved Wednesday by a Leon County judge in a move that could shake the Republican Party's grip on power in the Capitol.

In choosing the new map, Circuit Judge George Reynolds also rejected a plan put forward by Senate Republican leaders as the best configuration of the chamber's 40 seats. The proposal chosen by Reynolds would lead to a roughly even number of districts favoring each party.

A long-running legal battle over the fate of Florida's political landscape is going back before the state Supreme Court.

The House redistricting committee voted along party lines Monday to approve its version of new districts for the state Senate, potentially setting up a battle with the upper chamber as a special session on the map entered its final week.

On a 9-4 vote, the Select Committee on Redistricting's Republican majority pushed through a proposal by Chairman Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, that sets aside a compromise on South Florida seats struck in the Senate last week.

Senate Narrowly Approves Redistricting Plan

Oct 29, 2015

The Republican-controlled state Senate narrowly approved a new map of the chamber's 40 districts Wednesday, moving forward with a plan that opponents said was certain to be struck down by the courts.

Chairman Releases Redistricting Plan Amid Numbers Controversy

Oct 22, 2015

The chairman of the state Senate committee charged with redrawing districts for the 40-member chamber released his proposed draft of the map late Wednesday, as Republican discontent with a plan for whether and when members would have to run for re-election continued to brew.

A three-day trial that could decide the fate of Florida's political landscape ended Monday as lawyers for both sides accused each other of recommending changes to the state's 27 congressional districts that could benefit either Republicans or Democrats.

Redistricting Session Falls Apart Amid House-Senate Battle

Aug 21, 2015

A special session called to redraw state congressional lines was derailed Friday, the latest sign of growing acrimony between Republican leaders of the House and Senate.

Documents Show Private Discussions In Senate Redistricting

Aug 21, 2015

Senate leaders crafting new districts for the chamber in 2012 held confidential meetings to discuss maps with lawmakers before the maps were made public, while at the same time boasting about "the most open and transparent redistricting process in Florida's history," according to court documents.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state's congressional maps don't meet the requirements of a voter-approved constitutional amendment that prohibits political lines from being drawn to favor incumbents or a political party. The court ordered the Legislature to try drawing the maps again.

The Supreme Court's decision on Monday to uphold the constitutionality of Arizona's independent redistricting commission has some hoping their model could now pave the way for other states to adopt a less partisan way of drawing congressional lines.

Anesthesiologists Fight AHCA over New Rule

Aug 5, 2014

 The Florida Society of Anesthesiologists this week filed a legal challenge against the state Agency for Health Care Administration because of a new proposal dealing with anesthesiology services in ambulatory surgical centers. The challenge, which will go before an administrative law judge, argues that AHCA overstepped its legal authority in drawing up a proposed rule. At least in part, the challenge contends the rule would allow certified registered nurse anesthetists to supervise anesthesiologist assistants.

The Florida Legislature illegally drew the state's congressional districts to primarily benefit the Republican Party, a judge has ruled, and has ordered them redrawn.

Circuit Judge Terry Lewis said in a 41-page ruling Thursday that legislators relied on GOP political operatives who worked in secret to craft the final political maps adopted in 2012. In doing so Lewis rejected arguments from top legislative leaders that they had done nothing wrong during the process.

'Genius Map Drawer' Denies Sharing Redistricting Information With GOP Officials

May 30, 2014

A state Republican staffer, tagged as a "genius map drawer," denied discussing or sharing proposed new district lines in 2011 with national GOP officials, as the second week of a trial over the state's redrawn congressional maps concluded Friday.

GOP staffer Frank Terraferma was called back to provide additional testimony after his name was revealed to have been included in an emailed invitation to a June 15, 2011, meeting at Republican National Committee headquarters.

A Florida appeals court on Thursday blocked the release of documents that are supposed to be key evidence in an ongoing trial to determine whether state legislators broke the law when drawing up new political maps.

The groups suing the Florida Legislature had obtained documents from a Gainesville-based political consulting firm and wanted to use them to show that legislators drew up congressional districts in 2012 in a way that would help Republicans.

Senate President Gaetz Defends Evolution of Controversial District

May 22, 2014

Senate President Don Gaetz and an aide involved in the Senate's push for a larger number of African-American voters in U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown's sprawling district explained their logic Wednesday as testimony continued in a lawsuit challenging the state's political map.

Gaetz, a Niceville Republican who chaired the Senate's mapmaking committee during the once-a-decade redistricting session in 2012, and John Guthrie, who led the committee's staff, were the first people involved in the Senate's process to speak during the trial.

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford is expected to testify during the second day of a trial looking at whether legislators broke the law when drawing up new political maps.

Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican, was in charge of the House committee that oversaw redistricting in 2011 and 2012.

Voters in 2010 passed the "Fair Districts" amendment that says districts cannot be drawn in a way to favor incumbents or members of a political party.