The Florida House today passed congressional, state House and state Senate maps that lay out how it wants voting districts to be drawn for the next decade.
The maps were the reason for an early start to the 2012 session. The maps will be reviewed in state and federal courts.
Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, said the maps were historic for not favoring incumbents or political parties in a state that has been heavily gerrymandered in the past. Cannon expressed “more than a little disappointment” in members whom he said failed to acknowledge the nonpartisan process.
The drawing of the maps has been given close attention not just for its once-a-decade rarity, but because of the “Fair Districts” amendments approved by Florida voters in November 2010. Amendments 5 and 6 require districts to be compact, using geographic boundaries and protecting racial and language minorities. They must also adhere to standards set forth by the federal Voting Rights Act.
On the second day the bill was on the floor, representatives were lashing back at those who suggested there was partisan intent or racial packing in the maps.
This is the final stop for the Senate map, but the state Senate will have to approve the congressional and House maps.
Each bill received 80 yeas and 37 nays, along party lines.