Florida Legislature should solve the redistricting issue

Editorial Board | Bradenton Herald | 09/09/2015

Florida's Legislature continues to be dysfunctional, this time thanks to the unreasonable House intent on requiring Senate subservience to its will.

Compromise is not a topic of discussion from House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, only Senate capitultation to the House maps for new congressional district boundaries after a state Supreme Court finding that the old ones violated the state constitution.

On Friday, the high court ordered a trial court to once again address the illegal map boundaries drawn by political operatives in violation of the Fair Districts amendments approved by voters — a ruling that lawmakers must prove they are not intentionally trying to protect Republicans in elections with those maps.

The justices rejected a request to draw its own lines, and ordered a lower court to review rival maps from both chambers of the Legislature to pick one while also calling for another special session. Crisafulli refused to call that special session on Wednesday, instead calling on the Senate to adopt the House map.

The Legislature now has until Oct. 17 to reach a decision on redistricting, according to the deadline set by the court.

The Legislature now has until Oct. 17 to reach a decision on redistricting, according to the deadline set by the court.

The House simply disagrees with the Senate on the Supreme Court ruling, with stating that the upper chamber "gives members more leeway to influence regions for the map for community interests."

This is not a political solution to an intractable problem. Compromise must come. Bradenton Republican and Senate Resdricting Chairman Bill Galvano brought that to the table but his bipartisan compromise may have come too late, as it did Friday after the deadline of the special session.

Galvano's proposal — "more constitutionally complaiant" than the House boundaries, according to Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando — should be on up for consideration.

The Supreme Court ruled Friday the trial court ruling on the redistricting map design review should be reconsidered, stating one of those maps submitted by both the House and Senate should be picked and another special session called. With the House rejecting that idea this week, that brings a confrontation between branches of government.

The Legislature should reconvene. House Speaker Crisafulli should lead the way on a solution to congressional redistricting.


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