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Senate, Gardiner respond to shadow redistricting process

In response to a Times/Herald story today detailing a shadow redistricting process used to draw state Senate districts, Senate President Andy Gardiner issued a response Thursday afternoon.

You can read the full story here. To judge for yourself, the full deposition is attached here (vol. 1) and here (vol. 2).

"The Senate entered in to a consent judgement with the Plaintiffs because on July 9, more than three years after they approved the current Senate map, the Florida Supreme Court imposed a new and unprecedented definition of legislative intent.

"The Court's most recent definition of legislative intent was not in place at the time Amendments 5 and 6 were approved for placement on the ballot in 2010 or when President Gaetz and Speaker Weatherford developed the process by which the House and Senate would draw new legislative maps in 2012.

"I now have the benefit of numerous court rulings and constitutional interpretations, not available to President Gaetz in 2012, which I will consider when outlining a process to draw the new Senate map later this year.

"Rather than going back and trying to dissect the 2012 redistricting process based on judicial guidance that didn't exist until 2015, the Senate is moving forward to develop a new map that fully complies with the Court's most recent interpretation of the constitution."

The Senate also issued what it calls a "fact check" of the story:

"…before the public release of that map, Gaetz was privately conducting secret briefings with individual senators, via video conference, in which they would discuss possible alterations to the proposed Senate map.

· Operating under the rules of the Senate and state law, and consistent with manner in which committee work products are typically created, President Gaetz offered Senators the opportunity to meet with committee staff to review any proposed map and offer criticism or comment.

· The guidelines for each meeting specially stated: "The purpose of the call is for Senator Gaetz to describe a DRAFT plan that will be released in the proposed committee bill on Monday, November 28. The proposal was developed based on legal requirements and the public record. Conversations with Senator Gaetz about the proposal will be governed by the constitutional provisions that, "no apportionment plan or individual district shall be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent." Senator Gaetz specifically references the input of Senators in the Committee work product during the committee meeting where the Senate plan was approved on December 6, 2011.

"Republican operatives . . . forwarded maps to Senate staff and created Republican-leaning pieces that became the foundation of the adopted Senate redistricting plan."

· Not a single document in Wednesday's filing supports the Herald's claim that consultants forwarded maps to Senate staff. The only maps ever sent to the Senate Committee on Reapportionment were submitted through the public portal, and there is no evidence that any Senators or Senate Reapportionment staff member knew that those maps were drawn by a person other than the name submitted with the map.

· The Herald's assertion that consultants "created Republican-leaning pieces that became the foundation of the adopted Senate redistricting plan" is based on an erroneous assumption that a map within the consultants' possession in October 2011 was their work product. It was in fact the work product of Senate staff. (T. 105-107, 140-142).

"[T]estimony also shows the degree to which former Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, was aware of the process."

· There is no testimony by Mr. Guthrie—or anyone else—that Senator Gaetz was aware of any efforts by Republican consultants to submit maps through the public submission process.

"cid:image001.gif@01D0DB64.9E814970cid:image001.gif@01D0DB64.9E814970According to depositions and documents obtained by the Herald/Times, Heffley and Terraferma were producing maps and forwarding them to Senate staff more than a month before the Senate released its single proposed map on Nov. 28"

· Not a single document in Wednesday's filing supports the Herald's claim that consultants forwarded maps to Senate staff. The only maps ever sent to the Senate Committee on Reapportionment were submitted through the public portal, and there is no evidence that any senators or Senate staff member knew that those maps were drawn by a person other than the name submitted with the map.

"Guthrie testified that while he saved about 50 draft maps, he did not turn over drafts that match those drawn by the operatives to lawyers because he had deleted them."

· Mr. Guthrie testified that he did not save a new draft every time he made a modification to his work product (T. 111). Mr. Guthrie never testified that he deleted maps drawn by -anyone, nor that he was aware of any maps drawn by a person other than the name submitted with the map. The only maps ever sent to the Senate Committee on Reapportionment were submitted through the public portal, and remain accessible on the Senate's website to this day. The Herald erroneously assumes that a map within the consultants' possession in October 2011 was their work product. Rather, the testimony shows that it was the work product of the staff of the Senate Committee on Reapportionment. (T. 105-107, 140-142).

"Documents show that one of those maps, produced by Terraferma, the RPOF's top map drawer, was provided in a zip file to Carvin on Oct. 28."

· Mr. Guthrie testified that the map in question is his work product, not the product of a political consultant (T. 107). Moreover, there is no evidence that political consultants sent any maps to Michael Carvin, or any senators or any staff of the Senate Committee on Reapportionment.

"Guthrie also defended the destruction of the draft map drawn by the operatives as routine."

· Mr. Guthrie testified that he did not save new draft every time he made a modification to his work product (T. 111). Mr. Guthrie never testified that he deleted maps drawn by political consultants, nor that he was aware of any maps drawn by political consultants. The only maps ever sent to the Senate Committee on Reapportionment were submitted through the public portal, and remain accessible on the Senate's website to this day. The Herald erroneously assumes that a map within the consultants' possession in October 2011 was their work product. Rather, the testimony shows that the plan was created by Senate staff (T. 105-107, 140-142).

"According to the emails and draft maps, Terraferma and Heffley drew 14 of the districts that were in the Senate's proposed map."

· There is no evidence to support the Herald's claim that Mr. Terraferma and Mr. Heffley drew 14 of the districts in the Senate's proposed map. Rather, the evidence is that Mr. Terraferma and Mr. Heffley obtained an early draft of the Senate staff's work product (T. 138-142). The fact that an early Senate draft map resembles a later Senate draft map is consistent with the manner in which every other piece of legislation that comes before the Senate is developed.

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