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News Section: State Government

Florida Legislature Says Judge's Ruling Stays

Published Thursday, July 17, 2014 12:03 am

TALLAHASSEE – Florida legislative leaders won't challenge last week's ruling by Leon Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis that two of the state's 27 congressional districts are illegal. They ask only that Judge Lewis hold a hearing to clarify his decision, and let the current map stay through the 2014 election.


Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and State Senate President Don Gaetz ask the court to allow this year's August 26 and the November 4 general election be conducted under the existing maps.


The request is said to be in consideration of the 63,000 Florida military and overseas voters that have already received their absentee ballots based on the current map. 


Any alteration to the map would create irreparable damage to this year's election process, both leaders claimed. Judge Lewis has scheduled a conference with lawyers on July 17 to discuss the case.


League of Women's Voters filed suit against the 2012 redistricting boundaries, claiming the map favored Republicans over Democrats, violating a 2010 state constitutional amendment.


Judge Lewis upheld the boundaries of seven districts, but found that two were illegally constituted and ruled they be revised, adding surrounding districts would also have to be redrawn.


The two districts Lewis ruled illegal are held by U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Orlando. and U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville.

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Judge should set up an academic committee of geographers and mappers who are given orders to redistrict the state according to the terms set out in the constitutional amendment that was overwhelmingly approved by the people of Florida. Suggestion for rules: Do not allow municipalities to be separated into different districts if the population of the municipality is less than that of the district. If the population of the municipality is greater than that of the district, the whole district or districts would be entirely contained within the municipality and the total undivided excess shall go into a separate district. Make sense?
Posted by Richard C. Thomas on July 17, 2014

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