Enough roadblocks: Do the voters' will

By Times Wire | St. Petersburg Times | 06/01/2011

Perhaps now House Speaker Dean Cannon and Senate President Mike Haridopolos will hear the message that 63 percent of voters delivered unequivocally in November: Florida has new rules for drawing political districts to make them more competitive. It's past time for Cannon, Haridopolos and other Republican leaders to accept that reality and quit throwing up roadblocks.

The U.S. Justice Department ruled Tuesday that the so-called Fair District amendments do not undermine minorities' voting rights - as a legislative letter suggested - and the rules are cleared for use in 2012, when the Legislature will redraw legislative and congressional districts. Amendments 5 and 6 ban the Legislature from drawing districts that benefit a political party or candidate - a dramatic departure from the past, when legislative leaders had broad discretion to gerrymander districts.

The Justice Department's preclearance letter offers some clarity. Last year, lawmakers placed a poison pill amendment on the same ballot, only to be thwarted when the Florida Supreme Court tossed it off. Cannon is also party to a federal lawsuit that is attempting to get the congressional redistricting rule quashed.

There's just one problem: Both men - along with other legislators, the governor and state Cabinet - swore to uphold the Florida Constitution, which voters overwhelmingly decided should include Amendments 5 and 6. That's the new law of the state. Get used to it.

Copyright 2011 St. Petersburg Time


Legal battle over state Senate districts coming to an end

01/20/2016
TALLAHASSEE - A contentious battle over Florida state senate districts is coming to an end. read more »

Senate won't appeal redistricting ruling

01/20/2016
Clearing the way for elections later this year with a map that could boost Democrats' numbers in the Senate, Republican leaders decided Wednesday not to appeal a Leon County judge's ruling setting districts for the chamber's 40 seats. read more »

Florida Senate won't appeal ruling on new districts

01/20/2016
TALLAHASSEE — Senate leaders said Wednesday that they will not appeal last month's court ruling that sided with a voters' coalition in setting new district boundaries. read more »

Florida Legislature won't appeal redistricting ruling

01/20/2016
TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Legislature is giving up the fight and will not contest a court ruling that redraws all of the state's 40 state senate districts for the 2016 election cycle. read more »

Editorial: Republicans should accept redistricting defeat and drop talk of appeals

01/10/2016
For a brief moment last week it appeared the Florida Legislature had come to its senses and was willing to accept a judge's ruling on the boundaries for new state Senate districts. read more »

Renumbering state Senate districts triggers political scramble

01/10/2016
TALLAHASSEE — It may sound like a simple process, but the Florida Senate's random renumbering of all its districts statewide Tuesday touched off a series of complicated twists that one key lawmaker said only adds more chaos to a continuing redistricting saga. read more »