Despite Objections, House Committee Passes Base Map

Aug 13, 2015

The proposed base map for Florida's congressional districts.
Credit FL Senate District Explorer

At least one state lawmaker loves Florida’s congressional borders just the way they are.  But committees from both chambers of the state legislature began hashing out revisions Thursday.

The Florida Supreme Court may have charged the Legislature with redrawing the state’s congressional borders, but many lawmakers remain defiant.  Thursday, Rep. Mike Hill (R-Pensacola Beach) introduced a map of his own in the House.  But Hill isn’t offering any changes. 

Instead, he says lawmakers should, “deny the request of the Supreme Court of Florida that the legislature redraw the state’s congressional districts established in Chapter 2012-2, Laws of Florida.”

Committee Chair Jose Oliva (R-Miami Lakes) quickly quashed Hill’s amendment.

“This amendment is not within the call,” Oliva said, “and therefore out of order.”

“While I understand the motivation behind the amendment,” he went on, “any measure outside the purview of the purpose stated in the proclamation issued by the presiding officers requires introduction by a two thirds vote of the membership of each house.”

But Hill isn’t the only one arguing the Supreme Court went too far.  Often this grumbling is focused on the order’s demand that District Five take on an East-West orientation.  Similar directions, like the one keeping southern Pinellas County whole, have largely been ignored.  But Jacksonville Democrat Reggie Fullwood sees things differently.

“Chastising the Supreme Court for doing—the Florida Supreme Court—for doing their job, I think is outrageous,” Fullwood says.  “That’s what they’re supposed to do.  It’s not far-reaching when you make a determination based on evidence based on facts.” 

At the close of its hearing Thursday, the House committee approved the base map—east-west District Five and all.  Further changes from House lawmakers will have to come on the floor, and the deadline for amendments is noon Friday.