TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House Redistricting Committee approved the Senate's fix to its rejected redistricting map on a party-line vote Monday and sent it to the House floor where nothing is expected to change.
"I think it's a significant improvement to the map that was passed before and I think it is in compliance,'' said House Redistricting Chairman Will Weatherford as the committee met to review the Senate map.
The Legislature has until Wednesday to come up with a new Senate map after the Florida Supreme Court rejected its first try 5-2 on March 9.
Democratic Majority Leader Ron Saunders predicted that absent any changes to the Senate map, it will prompt the party to urge the Florida Supreme Court to reject it when it conducts its second and final review this month.
"It's going to be challenged,'' Saunders said. "Districts are more compact than they were before, but we don't think it follows the Constitution much better."
Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, R-Miami, said he expects the Miami-Dade delegation to warn that the failure of the map to draw a fourth Hispanic majority seat in Miami-Dade County may violate federal Voting Rights Act protections, but he said the map is likely to get the House's "rubber stamp."
"Numbers don't lie,'' he said. "With the voting age population of Hispanics in Dade County, you could justify six seats and all we're asking for are four seats."
Rep. Marty Kiar, D-Davie, expressed concern, too.
"I have grave concern that the map is nothing more than an incumbent protection plan,'' Kiar said, citing a Times/Herald analysis that showed that the Senate proposal puts only two senators into the same district while the House map approved by the court drew several legislators together.