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House lukewarm on latest Senate congressional map

State Rep. Jose Oliva has told House colleagues he’s unswayed by the latest Senate attempt to bring lawmakers back to the Capitol to agree on a new congressional district map.

In a memo released Friday, Oliva – the Miami Lakes Republican who chairs the House redistricting panel – thanked his counterpart, state Sen. Bill Galvano, for the olive branch.

“… If the Senate had offered an amendment like the map filed by Chairman Galvano yesterday afternoon, that map would have been given serious consideration,” Oliva said.

“As I have stated before, I am open to any idea that could constitutionally be considered an improvement over the amended map that the House publicly vetted, debated and passed with a bipartisan vote,” he said.

“However, in order to fully and publicly vet the proposal filed by Chairman Galvano, we would need additional time. Furthermore, I am unaware whether this map represents the will of a majority of the Senate.

“Unless we are afforded more time to conduct a proper vetting, I believe our best course of action is to submit the amended base map as passed by the Florida House of Representatives during Special Session,” Oliva added.

“Together with the initial base map, it is the only map available to the House at this time that, without further review and evaluation, I can confidently represent fulfills our constitutional obligations.”

On Thursday, Galvano released a version of Florida’s 27 congressional districts that 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 drawn by state Sen. Tom Lee that placed all of eastern Hillsborough County into the 15th District, now held by Republican Dennis Ross.

It also raised eyebrows by drawing Ross out of his own district, putting Ross’ residence across the street from the new boundary line.

The recent Special Session called for redistricting ended with no map produced; House leaders said the Senate map almost certainly would be ruled unconstitutional because it favored Hillsborough at the expense of portions of central Florida.

Written By

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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