TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — The congressional redistricting map drawn by the staff for Gov. Ron DeSantis is nearing final passage during the special session of the Florida legislature.
The Florida Senate voted in favor of the map Wednesday morning. Now it must pass the House, where a vote is expected on Thursday before the special session is adjourned.
Neither chamber has made any changes to the map proposed by Gov. DeSantis, which significantly increases the partisan advantage for Republicans over the version passed by the legislature that he vetoed. The map also dismantles or reshapes several districts represented by Black Democratic lawmakers, notably District 5 in North Florida.
“I’m very disappointed and disheartened,” said Fla. Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg. “This map does not serve the interests of Floridians.”
Rouson asked DeSantis Deputy Chief of Staff Alex Kelly in the redistricting committee meeting on Tuesday whether he thought having diverse representation was a “compelling state interest.” Kelly did not answer that question, instead laying out traditional guidelines for redistricting political maps.
Lawmakers in the House will return on Thursday for final debate and to vote on the map, as well as two other bills that are aimed at Disney World’s special district and status.