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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gaetz wants a drawing to set district numbers in new map



In a letter to senators Saturday, Sen. Don Gaetz said his proposed redistricting rewrite assigns temporary numbers to the districts and describes an elaborate process by which the new numbers will be chosen.

Because the numbering of the districts will determine whether senators will serve a two-year or a four-year term after this year's elections -- potentially allowing some to exceed the eight-year term limit -- Gaetz said they will be assigned new districts numbers randomly on the Senate floor "by neutral, independent party." Download Gaetz memo 317

Scott Arceneaux, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party called the idea "ridiculous."

"They have the political backbone of a chocolate eclair,'' he said. "they cout said you can't give senators 10-year terms and no one wants to stand up to senators and tell them they can't get 10-year terms. How hard is that? Apparently pretty hard."

Gaetz defended his map as a constitutionally sound remedy to the defects found by the Florida Supreme Court, specifically relating to Districts 1, 3, 6, 9, 10, 29, 30, and 34.

"The districts were redrawn, along with any affected districts, in accordance with constitutional standards as defined by the Supreme Court,'' Gaetz wrote. "The amendment also addresses the Court’s concerns regarding the City of Lakeland, and Senate professional staff and attorneys conducted the necessary functional analysis described by the Supreme Court."

Here's how the memo describes how the numbering process will work:

"The Chairman’s amendment assigns a temporary number to each district. To achieve a random
selection, two random drawings will then be conducted simultaneously. First, one temporary
number will be selected at random. Second, a random selection will be made between two
values: “odd” and “even.”

"The district whose temporary number was selected in the first drawing will receive an odd or even number, as determined by the second drawing. This process will repeat until twenty odd numbers and twenty even numbers have been assigned on a random, incumbent-neutral basis.

"The random selection of district numbers will be conducted on the Senate floor by a neutral,
independent party agreed to by the Majority and Minority Leaders, and with the consultation of
the Florida Lottery. The press and public are invited to attend and will have direct access to the

"Senators may file alternative plans as amendments to be considered by the Committee on
Reapportionment at Tuesday’s meeting. As was unanimously agreed to by the members of the
Senate, the deadline for filing amendments for the committee meeting is noon on Monday,
March 19. Please give due consideration to the time it takes to process and file a redistricting
plan as an amendment, and in the spirit of transparency and openness, to those who would wish
to study a an alternative proposal."

[Last modified: Saturday, March 17, 2012 1:58pm]


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