State Sen. Bill Galvano isn’t giving up on a legislative fix to the state’s congressional map mess, proposing yet another compromise he hopes will bring the House back to the table.
On Thursday, the chairman of the Senate’s redistricting panel released a version of Florida’s 27 congressional districts that notably puts the southern flank of eastern Hillsborough County back into the 16th Congressional District, now held by Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan.
Previously, the Senate had pushed a map designed by state Sen. Tom Lee that placed all of eastern Hillsborough County into the 15th District, now held by Republican Dennis Ross. It also drew Ross out of his district, putting Ross’ residence across the street from the new boundary line.
That move deep-sixed the recent Special Session called solely for redistricting, with House leaders saying the Senate map almost certainly would be ruled unconstitutional because it favors Hillsborough at the expense of portions of central Florida.
It also raised concerns that Lee, a Brandon Republican, would run for the redrawn seat. Lee later said he would not.
“While I believe it is important for the Senate to advocate for its legislative positions, I also recognize the legislative process can only work if the House and Senate can reach agreement together,” Galvano wrote in a memo to senators. “It is about compromise.”
To that end, Galvano – a Bradenton Republican who represents the southernmost part of Hillsborough – said he gave the following direction to legislative staff:
- “Acquiesce to the concern the House expressed regarding the Senate’s proposal to keep Congressional District 10 in Orange County;
- “Address the concern the House expressed in treating Hillsborough County in a manner consistent with Orange County;
- “Acknowledge the policy positions taken by the Senate in keeping Sarasota County whole;
- “Maintain the level of tier-two compliance, particularly with regard to compactness and respect for political boundaries, achieved in the House’s amended base map.”
The latest “reconfiguration results in a map that does not alter District 10 as it was drawn in the base map, increases Hillsborough County’s population share of District 16, and does not split Sarasota County,” Galvano wrote.
“At this time, I am also requesting the President seek a meeting with the House to discuss this proposal, the base map as last amended by the House, the possibility of reaching a compromise, and the logistics of enacting a congressional map in a timely manner,” he added.
“It is my hope that this map is something that my all fellow legislators, in both chambers, can support as a compromise, and that we can fulfill our obligation to adopt a Congressional reapportionment plan.”
FloridaPolitics.com is seeking the House’s response and will add it when we receive it.
3 p.m. update: State Rep. Jose Oliva, the Miami Lakes Republican who chairs his chamber’s redistricting panel, sent his colleagues a memo later Thursday in response to Galvano’s map:
“I was made aware that Chairman Galvano filed a new congressional redistricting map … I am reviewing the filed map for the first time today and cannot speak to it at this time.
“… I am open to any idea that could constitutionally be considered an improvement over the bipartisan, amended, debated map we passed. As you know, there are many parameters to consider.
“Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will likely speak to the process by which a constitutional redistricting plan will be established. Until that time, I am reticent to offer any feedback on the latest Senate map. I will continue to provide you with updates as I receive them.”