Florida House Speaker Weatherford Testifies On 2nd Day Of Redistricting Trial

May 20, 2014

House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) testifying Tuesday during a hearing, calling into question whether the Congressional districts were redrawn to favor Republicans.
Credit Florida Channel

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford testified on Day 2 of the two-week redistricting trial looking at whether Florida lawmakers broke the law in drawing Congressional districts in 2012. reports.

Part of Weatherford’s testimony Tuesday centered around the district occupied by Democratic Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown.

“I knew it was an African American minority district that was somewhere around 49.9 percent African American when it was drawn in 2002, and we believed as we were redrawing that map that it was important that we maintained our legal responsibility to make sure that district could vote for and elect a candidate of their choice,” said Weatherford, responding to a question by David King, an attorney representing groups, like the League of Women Voters, which filed the suit.

At issue is whether the Republican-led Legislature violated state law by drawing political maps in a way that favors GOP incumbents or candidates. Speaking of his role as the head of the House’s redistricting effort in 2011 and 2012, Weatherford says he did his best to uphold the so-called “Fair Districts” law voters approved in 2010—that despite a lawsuit backed by his chamber to block the amendments before they took effect.

“The determination of whether or not to litigate Amendments 5 and 6 was decided by the Speaker of the House, Speaker [Dean] Cannon. I was not involved in that decision. After they passed and after I became a Chairman of the [Redistricting] Committee, my job was to make sure we upheld the law and followed the law,” added Weatherford.

He also testified that he made it very clear to Republican-leaning consultants that they could not be a part of the process because they would “put the entire map in jeopardy.”

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