Off to the Florida Supreme Court the Senate Redistricting map goes yet again. After being by the Florida House, the newly redrawn (again) Senate Redistricting map will head to the Supreme Court for 30 days so that the justices can review and decide if the map is constitutional and does not violate any new anti-gerrymandering laws.

The Senate map was redrawn after the initial map was rejected by a 5-2 vote from the Court on March 9. A special 15-day legislative session, which began on March 14, was ordered so that the Senate could try to once again come up with a redistricting map that the Court would approve.

In the initial Supreme Court report, 32 of the 40 Senate Districts were approved, but eight specific districts needed to be redrawn.

The Court voted unanimously (7-0) on the last day of the 2012 Florida legislative session to pass the Florida House district maps. This means that, as previously reported in Neighborhood News, Wesley Chapel will be in House District 38, which is now an all-Pasco- County district. New Tampa is now entirely within House District 63, along with the University of South Florida (USF) area and Old Carrollwood.

“We are very pleased that (the Supreme Court) validated our maps,” says District 38 (previously District 61) Rep. Will Weatherford (R – Wesley Chapel), whose district had included some Hillsborough residents.

Florida House, Senate and U.S. Congressional District maps are redrawn every ten years, after the national census is conducted. Districts are redrawn according to population shifts in the census data. A November amendment to the Florida Constitution (the “Fair Districts Amendment”) requires districts to be drawn without regard to political parties.— Matt Wiley


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