One major point of contention during the first week of the Special Session to redraw the Florida Senate seats has been the Tampa Bay area.
Many spectators expected the Florida Senate to abandon efforts to cross the Tampa Bay from Pinellas to Hillsborough County, which they did in two districts in 2012.
On October 14th, just a few days before special session begins, the state legislature released six proposed base maps for its state Senate lines. Each map is different in some areas and similar in others. From these six proposals the Legislature must try to come to an agreement on one final map; something they failed to do with the congressional districts during the summer. Due to the large number of changes across the six distinct maps, only one Senate district is guaranteed to see no change from its current makeup, Senate District 3. A vast majority of voters are going to see their Senate districts change.
In today’s Tallahassee Democrat article, DNC member Jon Ausman and myself advocated for keeping Leon County whole in any new congressional district drawn in next month’s Special Session. The Supreme Court ordered that the current 5th Congressional district, stretching from Jacksonville to Orlando, be eliminated and a new east-west district be drawn. The court cited the proposed districts by the League of Women Voters as an acceptable option. The League’s proposed map splits Leon County between two districts, thus diluting the power of the County and Tallahassee.