Senate Democrats demand map-drawing transparency now
The legal fight over the Senate map has intensified as Senate Democrats are now demanding the public be allowed "real time" access into the behind-the-scenes process of map drawing being conducted by House and Senate staff in preparation for next week's special session to realign Senate district boundaries.
In a Oct. 8 letter to Senate Redistricting Chairman Bill Galvano and House Redistricting Chairman Jose Oliva, Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner asked that both sides make public the guidelines they have agreed to use as their staff members build a series of proposed maps to be used by legislators as the starting point next week.
Galvano and Oliva privately agreed to guidelines and to “draw multiple base maps using different methodologies" but they have refused to allow the release the guidelines until the maps are released sometime this week. According to correspondence between them -- made public last week -- they also agreed that "all meetings of the map drawers and their work on the base map, including meetings where they are advised by counsel, be recorded.”
Joyner, using funds from the Florida Democratic Party, then hired lawyer Mark Herron and asked that he be allowed in to the map-drawing process but Senate President Andy Gardiner refused. Now, she is asking to get access to the "recordings of any meetings between counsel for the Senate and the House of Representatives at which these methodologies were discussed as well as recordings of any meetings between counsel and the map drawers and/or any member of the Senate or House of Representatives at which these methodologies have been discussed."
Joyner also wants "copies of the recordings of all meetings of the map drawers while they work on the base maps, including meetings where they are advised by counsel, contemporaneously as they occur."
Her argument: this will enable transparency as they fix the map legislative leaders have conceded violated the constitution when they drew it the first time in 2012.
"This will allow the members of the Senate – as well as the public – to assess the credibility of the process in real time," she wrote.
Here's Joyner's letter: Download 10-08-15 Remedial Senate Map Drawing Process - Letter - FINAL