Democratic House Co-Leader Evan jenne is concerned that the public will have few opportunities to review maps of the districts that will define Florida’s political landscape for the next decade.
Lawmakers meet for the second week before the 2022 session, when the legislature approves maps for 28 US House districts, 40 State Senate districts, and 120 State House districts. However, lawmakers are getting a second round of snapshots, with this week’s news focusing on Florida redistribution website which went to live last month.
Faced with the possibility that the redistribution process will be slow and lengthy, Jenne admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the federal census process, reducing the time lawmakers and the public have to think about decadal data. The Dania Beach Democrat has called this year’s mapping process dangerous due to a lack of communication with the public.
The deadline for lawmakers to approve the cards is March 11, 2022, the last day of the 60-day legislative session.
“We’re going to have probably the most limited amount of community contribution we’ve ever seen on these cards. For me it’s wild, ”Jenne said.
Public groups, like Florida Conservation Voters, have also called on lawmakers to seek public input and make the process accessible. In a letter sent to lawmakers on Monday, the Fair Districts Coalition thanked legislative leaders for committing to a fair process and called for transparency.
“However, we cannot forget that the latest redistribution process was touted as” the most transparent redistribution process “in Florida history, while elected officials knowingly created a ghost process,” he said. they wrote.
This week, the Senate redistribution committee meets Monday afternoon. The House redistribution committee meets on Tuesday while the two House subcommittees meet on Wednesday.
The Republicans at the head of the redistribution committees have promised a fair process, but Democrats have not turned down opportunities to warn the majority party against irregularities, including gerrymandering.
Highlighting the redistribution process of the past decade, which was only fully completed in 2016 following legal challenges, he was confident there would be legal action against the drawn maps next year.
“The legislature has proven that it knows how to mess things up enough that it can drag on a court case for years and years and years, and the redistribution is no different,” Jenne said.
However, he said he was unaware of any “infamous” plans to intentionally prolong the mapping process in order to limit the possibilities of legal challenges.
Jenne’s other concerns are to ensure that there are appropriate seats for minorities and that the legislature follows “fairs districts”. anti-gerrymandering amendment voters added to the state constitution in 2010.
“The ball is clearly in the hands of my friends across the aisle, and it will be up to them to decide if they want to play this thing straight or if they want to get a little wobbly with the way these lines run statewide, ”he said.