In advance of the state legislature’s organizational meeting and special session tomorrow, incoming state House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, today unveiled the names of state House committee chairs. Among them: state Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who will head up the committee overseeing the redistricting process after the conclusion of this year’s census.
Weatherford was a vocal foe of Amendments 5 and 6, the so-called “Fair Districts” amendments that limit the legislature’s ability to gerrymander districts that passed a statewide vote on Nov. 2. He was a supporter of the group Protect Your Vote, the political action committee whose efforts to fight 5 and 6 were largely bankrolled by the Republican Party of Florida.
The Protect Your Vote website (nix5and6.com) has been taken down, but a cached version accessed through Yahoo! Site Explorer lists Weatherford as a person “acting on behalf of the organization.” Also listed as such is state Sen. Don Gatez, R-Destin, recently appointed by Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, as the chair of the committee in charge of redistricting on the Senate side of the Florida legislature.
That means that the two legislators most responsible for making sure that the legislature follows the redistricting rules laid out in Amendments 5 and 6 were both members of a group explicitly created to defeat those rules.