Legislative maps for the Senate and House have officially been OK’d by the Florida Legislature.
A day after the Florida House approved a map (H 8013) and attached it to legislation with the already approved Senate map (S 8058), the cartography has now shifted from a legislative matter to one of judicial scrutiny.
Senate President Wilton Simpson offered high praise for the process within his chamber.
“Thank you to this body for the professionalism we brought to the process this year with redistricting,” he said. “We can and should be very proud of the work we’ve done here today and we’ll see if the courts are equally as proud.”
The bill (SB 100) passed out of the Senate Thursday on a 37-0 vote. Notably, the Senate map last month earned three ‘no’ votes from Democratic Sens. Audrey Gibson, Gary Farmer and Victor Torres. At the time, they cited concerns about the fact the Senate map holds the same number of minority access districts as are in place now, despite growth in Hispanic populations over the past decade.
Similar concerns dogged the House map, which was approved with far less bipartisanship and moved ahead on a near party-line 77-39 vote.
Sen. Ray Rodrigues, the Estero Republican who chaired the Senate Reapportionment Committee, encouraged senators to stay above the fray in the lower chamber.
“I ask we give our colleagues in the House the same deference they have provided to us on our map,” he said.
The legislative maps, unlike congressional maps still in the works, passed as a joint resolution and therefore can become law without the involvement of the Governor’s Office.
The next legal step will be for Attorney General Ashley Moody to review the maps and petition the Florida Supreme Court within 15 days to conduct a high-level review. The court has 30 days to complete that process. Potentially, this gives the Legislature a chance to address any concerns raised by courts with either map before the end of the Session.
Both maps will be in place for the 2022 election cycle.