President castigates ‘political rhetoric’ on FL House panel’s ‘workshop cards’
Florida’s efforts to redistribute the legislature have intensified, at least at State House.
Without naming names, Florida Representative Tyler Sirois, chairman of the House subcommittee on Congressional Redistribution, complained Thursday about “the political rhetoric that has been caustically launched in the media” since staff of the subcommittee released its first two draft maps on Monday.
âAs you might have guessed, once our maps were released, a self-proclaimed, partisan political class made the headlines for giving their comment as early as possible, without even reserving the opportunity to explain or comment. observe the meeting of this committee today, “he added. Sirois said in his opening remarks when the subcommittee met Thursday afternoon. He is a Republican whose district includes part of Brevard County.
One of those critics was Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz, who released a press statement on Wednesday calling the two card projects gerrymandered to unfairly strengthen the Republican Party’s grip on Florida.
News organizations as diverse as POLITICO and Breitbart reported this week that the subcommittee’s map projects proposed new districts in central Florida that would make re-election a long blow for U.S. Democratic Representative Stephanie Murphy.
Republican state representative Anthony Sabatini, a candidate for Congress, is also in the fray. He sang on social media that “a new congressional card has been released by Florida House” that could make his campaign easier to win.
âFormer District 7 (which I signed up for) is almost entirely District 6 now. Stay tuned! #winning, âSabatini tweeted on Monday, not clarifying that there were in fact two draft cards on the House side and neither had been considered by the House panel on the redistribution of Congress.
Sirois complained that the ‘caustically dismissed’ rhetoric is irrelevant because the draft Congress maps drawn by staff and released on Monday are just a ‘starting point’ – not presented as a legislation or committee bills or anything other than “workshop cards” to illustrate to members how their political choices will lead to the design of districts when lawmakers meet in the January 11 regular session.
Members of the subcommittee said they wrote both maps to illustrate how districts can be legally drawn in various ways depending on the federal requirement that lawmakers decide to prioritize.
Personnel manager Leda Kelly said, for example, that the districts in the two maps in the workshop divide 20 of Florida’s 67 counties, but one map divides 33 cities while the other map divides 40. Both create “protected districts” bringing together black and Hispanic voters in sufficient numbers. to elect the candidates of their choice, but in different ways.
Democrats on the subcommittee did not criticize the workshop cards, but expressed frustration that they were released just three days before the panel’s last meeting before the regular session began, and that it there is no announced game plan on how to do this. The documents used in Thursday’s meeting were provided to members just before the start of the meeting.
Six members – three Republicans and three Democrats – were excused from the meeting.
In the Senate, staff on the Congressional Redistribution subcommittee released draft maps for the 28 districts that generated little stir among subcommittee members or observers.