Legislature Opens Judge-Ordered Special Session To Redraw Congressional Districts

Aug 7, 2014

Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) says there's not much time for drawing new districts but it can be done in time.
Credit The Florida Channel

Florida’s special legislative session to redraw the state’s congressional districts got underway Thursday.  The proposed schedule for the session doesn’t leave much room for error.

Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis invalidated two of Florida’s congressional districts early last month and has called on the Legislature to present a new map by Aug. 15.  But that doesn’t leave much time for the process.  

Just after the House’s first hearing, Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) described the compressed timeline.

“We’re going to have a committee meeting tomorrow.  The hope is we’ll be able to pass out a map out of that committee tomorrow, second reading potentially on Monday, and who knows, third reading on Tuesday,” Weatherford says.  “Depending on how things go, it could be a short week next week or it could be a long week.  But what we do know is we have to have a map Judge Lewis’ desk by noon on Friday.”

But even if the map meets constitutional muster, Republican lawmakers have criticized the idea of holding a special congressional election this year using the new borders.  That fight will have to wait until the hearing Lewis has scheduled for Aug. 20.