So here is what Tampa Bay’s Congressional seats will look like under a plan passed by the Florida House on Friday.
The most important item to note is that everything is back to normal under this map. Meaning Kathy Castor’s seat is set mostly in Hillsborough and South Pinellas (read: African Americans). Bill Young keeps most of St. Petersburg, although he may be giving up a little bit more of the downtown than he — or the St. Petersburg Chamber — would like. Young and Gus Bilirakis are no longer drawn in the same seat.
Like I said, everything is back to normal.
The map must still receive approval from the entire membership of the Florida House of Representatives. And the Florida Senate has its own map of the Congressional seats.
But few think the process is likely to end with final House and Senate votes on the measures, expected by the end of next week. While Gov. Rick Scott seems likely to sign the congressional plan, the Florida Supreme Court must review the legislative plan — and both could be challenged under either the state’s new anti-gerrymandering Fair Districts amendments or the federal Civil Rights Act.
“At the end of the day, somebody’s going to sue,” said Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach.