The lawmakers of Florida have given up trying to craft a new congressional map that would get the approval of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. After wrangling for weeks, the GOP headed legislature has allowed DeSantis to take over the redrawing of the congressional maps. If the decision gets DeSantis’ approval, the stage will be set for a very conservative-aligned congressional map. Florida gained a seat after growth in population following the Census.
The decision came two weeks after Ron DeSantis made a rare move, and vetoed a congressional map that was approved by the legislature. He then called upon Florida’s lawmakers to hold a special session to come up with a new map that would be according to the Florida Governor’s liking.
Florida is one of three states including Missouri and New Hampshire that are yet to come up with a map. Most other states have already either produced a final map or have their finalised map in the process of litigation.
“We’re awaiting a map that he will support”
State Senate President Wilton Simpson and state House Speaker Chris Sprowls issued a joint statement declaring the decision, in which they said, “At this time, Legislative reapportionment staff is not drafting or producing a map for introduction during the special session,”. “We are awaiting a communication from the Governor’s Office with a map that he will support. Our intention is to provide the Governor’s Office opportunities to present that information before House and Senate redistricting committees,” -they stated further.
The outlet further stated, “DeSantis vetoed a map the Legislature sent him late last month after which lawmakers agreed to hold a special session from April 19-22 to draw a new map. The announcement Monday comes as the state is approaching the June 17 deadline for prospective candidates for federal office without a map. The state’s primary election is slated to take place in August.
When he issued the veto, DeSantis argued the map the Legislature sent him violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment by preserving a racially gerrymandered district favourable to Democrats. Many outside observers noted DeSantis had been lobbying the Legislature for months to pass a map with more GOP-friendly lines. The Legislature’s map would have likely given Republicans an 18-10 advantage, up from the current 16-11 split, per Florida Politics.”
The Florida Governor’s Office is yet to issue a statement in response to the decision
“Might as well give DeSantis a pen and paper to redraw maps himself” -Democrats express their displeasure
The decision sparked uproar amongst the Democrats, and the left-wing doesn’t seem to want to accept this arrangement so easily. The Leftists have already made up their minds to file a lawsuit against the finalised map, no matter what it looks like.
Marc Elias, a Democratic lawyer, tweeted yesterday, “Discovery in the inevitable lawsuit will be very interesting,” in response to a tweet about this news made by right-wing political strategist, Rick Wilson.
Democratic lawmakers and some other groups deemed this decision by the legislature as “undemocratic” and “dangerous”.
A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson, Abel Iraola expressed her displeasure through a statement.
“The Florida Legislature’s decision to hand redistricting over to Gov. Ron DeSantis is an unprecedented and shameless abdication of their responsibilities as an elected body,” Iraola said. “Based on his public comments, there is no doubt that any proposal from Gov. DeSantis would be a nonstarter and an attack on Black representation in Florida.”
State Representative Anna Eskamani said, “Whatever happened to the separation of powers? The fact that the Florida Legislature is just bending over backward to do what the governor wants. I mean, why are we elected? At this point, we might as well give the governor a pen and paper and he will just redraw the maps himself.”
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