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Haridopolos predicts special session is coming on redistricting

5

March

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Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R- Merritt Island, reflection can be seen in his office conference table during a press conference Monday. Haridopolos all but admitted defeat Monday in the first round of court reviews over the legislature's redistricting map and predicted lawmakers would be back in a special session to revamp their maps. [Scott Keeler, Times]

Senate President Mike Haridopolos all but admitted defeat Monday in the first round of court reviews over the legislature's redistricting map and predicted lawmakers would be back in a special session to revamp their maps.

“We’re going to be here for extraordinary session, my guess, I think, given the give and take last week in the Supreme Court,'' Haridopolos told reporters Monday.

His reasoning: “nothing surprises me in the Supreme Court anymore,'' he said.

During rigorous questioning last week, four of the seven justices -- led by Justice Barbara Pariente -- raised questions about the maps, particularly that drawn by the Senate. Justices Pariente, Quince and Lewis and Perry appeared to be seeking advice on how to define the new standards voters approved when they put the new anti-gerrymandering amendments into the state Constitution in 2010. By contrast, Chief Justice Charles Canady appeared solidly opposed to getting into the details of implementing the new rules, preferring instead to have it sorted out at the trial court level and then ultimately appealed to the high court.

Haridopolos appeared to be casting blame on objections made by some unnamed senators.

"...My goal was when I handed off this responsibility to Don Gaetz to make sure it was the most open, methodical and transparent process ever'' he told reporters. "The people who didn’t do as well had some complaints because they never engaged. Sen. Gaetz laid it out really clearly."

He didn't mention names but said there were members "who thought they’d just come to the floor the last day and say, 'Hey, what about me? What about my area?' Well, you should have been here earlier. There was an event going on, there were 26 town hall meetings; we had numerous committee meetings. If you didn’t like the result for your community or whatever that might be then you should have been there and some people failed to."

 Haridopolos said he expects the court to reject one or both of the legislature's maps "given the questions from Justice Pariente and others that they’ve got some problems in certain areas and a majority of them might say we’ll adjust this or that."

The result: expect an special session devoted to redistricting to be called by Gov. Rick Scott convening as early as next week. “I wouldn’t be surprised,'' Haridopolos explained and "and I am, anticipating that, tryng to get as much feedback as possible.”

 

[Last modified: Monday, March 5, 2012 6:35pm]

    

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