Saturday, June 23, 2018
Politics

Mapping out Florida's redistricting special session

TALLAHASSEE — Florida lawmakers will remain in the spotlight this week when they return to the capital city for a redistricting special session to redraw the court-rejected Senate map.

It largely will be a one-sided exercise.

House leadership has decided to continue an agreement that allows the Senate to redraw its own lines. During the first redistricting round earlier this year, each chamber drew its own maps, but the court upheld only the House plan.

Both chambers, however, will return to Tallahassee Wednesday to convene their two-week session beginning at 1 p.m. House members will press a green button to indicate their attendance, and then most of them will turn around and head home until ordered to come back to vote on the Senate map.

After the brief session convenes, the House and Senate redistricting committees are scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon for two hours each to get updates on the Florida Supreme Court ruling. The court voted 5-2 Friday to reject the Senate map, specifically invalidating eight proposed districts for violating the new anti-gerrymandering rules, while it upheld the House map in its entirety 7-0.

The committees are then expected to adjourn as the Senate staff works behind closed doors to reconfigure the Senate proposal. The Senate Redistricting Committee is then set to meet again on March 20 to discuss a new proposed map. Senators are tentatively scheduling a floor vote on March 22 with a final vote taken that Thursday or Friday. No word yet on when the House will return to sign off.

"The court also gave us a pretty good road map on how to make the adjustments so I feel as though we can get the job done and get the job done on time,'' Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said after the Legislature adjourned on Friday. "We're not starting with a clean sheet of paper as some of our critics wanted us to."

After the Legislature passes its Senate map for a second time, Attorney General Pam Bondi will ask the court to review it again and the court will then have another 30 days to determine if the Senate followed the rules. If the court decides then that the Senate map is still out of compliance, the court is required to redraw the maps themselves.

Comments
Six candidates waltz into their seats as qualifying ends. The rest still have a fight

Six candidates waltz into their seats as qualifying ends. The rest still have a fight

Six local candidates across Tampa Bay — all county commissioners and city council members — effectively won their elections Friday by default: No one qualified to run against them.The rest still have a fight.Some will square off in an Aug. 28 primary...
Published: 06/22/18
Former Tampa police corporal qualifies as Democrat to run for Hillsborough sheriff

Former Tampa police corporal qualifies as Democrat to run for Hillsborough sheriff

TAMPA — A Democrat has officially joined the race for Hillsborough County sheriff.Gary Pruitt, a 50-year-old former Tampa police corporal who now works as director of security at a local mall, qualified Friday to challenge Republican Sheriff Chad Chr...
Published: 06/22/18
Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

So Hillsborough County commissioners — most of them, anyway — want voters to consider dropping political parties from certain elections, making those races nonpartisan instead.This would mean when you go to vote in those elections, you won’t know if ...
Published: 06/22/18
Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

NEW PORT RICHEY — A seasoned historic hotel renovator and operator is going to take a crack at getting New Port Richey’s city-owned Hacienda Hotel back into action. New Port Richey City Council members, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, u...
Published: 06/20/18
Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis stepped into a growing controversy over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, criticizing the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexican border and saying that "populism" and "creating psychosis" are not t...
Published: 06/20/18
Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Well, that didn’t last long.U.S. Army veteran Michael Sean McCoy filed to run as the Republican candidate in the State House, District 57 race just hours after incumbent State Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, announced he was stepping down.McCoy, who live...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Published: 06/19/18
‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

SEATTLE — The call came at mealtime — an anonymous threat demanding $5,000 or her son’s life. So Blanca Orantes-Lopez, her 8-year-old boy and his father packed up and left the Pacific surfing town of Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador and headed for t...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

WASHINGTON - As he prepared to visit Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to insist that Congress produce comprehensive immigration legislation, while anxious Republicans explored a narrower fix to the administration policy of se...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss legislation.Trump’s meeting late Tuesday afternoon with...
Published: 06/19/18