Redistricting proposal released as special session begins
By Brandon Larrabee
The News Service of Florida
Special to Historic City News
After lawmakers returned to the Capitol today for a rare August special session, progress is being made to quickly redraw congressional districts so that legislators can return to the campaign trail in the final weeks before this year’s Primary Election, August 26.
The chairmen of the House and Senate committees working to revise the map have already released a joint proposal tonight and say that they are hoping to hold committee votes tomorrow and gain approval from the full Legislature early next week.
“The goal is to fix District 5, District 10, and only those districts that are directly affected by changes in those two districts,” Rep. Richard Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican who chairs the House committee charged with redrawing the lines.
For starters, under the plan revealed by Corcoran, and Senate Redistricting Chairman Bill Galvano, controversial “Congressional District 5” that sprawls across eight counties as it winds its way from Jacksonville to Orlando and is represented by Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown and has been the target of gerrymandering criticism for years, will no longer include the City of Sanford. It will instead pick up more of Putnam and Marion counties.
Under the plan revealed by Corcoran and Senate Redistricting Chairman Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, Brown’s district would no longer include the city of Sanford — it would instead pick up more of Putnam and Marion counties.
All of Seminole County, which includes Sanford, would be included in Congressional District 7, now held by Republican Congressman John Mica, while the changes would force Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis’ District 6 to pick up more of Volusia County.
Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, who ruled last month that two congressional districts were drawn in 2012 to help the Republican Party, in violation of anti-gerrymandering rules passed by voters in 2010, has set an August 15th deadline for lawmakers to give him a new plan. Meeting that deadline is pretty likely. Because all congressional districts must have roughly equal population, any change to one or two districts will ripple through other parts of the map.