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House files its own Senate district map

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State Rep. Jose Oliva, chairman of the House of Representatives redistricting panel, on Friday filed a plan to redraw the state Senate districts that he said borrows from the plaintiffs’ proposal.

That map now will be considered as an amendment to the map sent over by the Senate on Wednesday.

Oliva’s Select Committee on Redistricting meets noon to 4 p.m. Monday, the House website shows.

State Sen. Bill Galvano, who leads redistricting efforts in that chamber, said his staff is reviewing the House map.

“My initial take is that their map may make the South Florida districts more compact, and that has been an issue, but we want to take the time to fully review it,” he told FloridaPolitics.com on Friday afternoon.

A state constitutional provision governing redistricting says “districts shall be compact.”

The League of Women Voters of Florida and other plaintiffs in a court challenge over the districts’ constitutionality submitted their own map late Tuesday.

“Due to the late submission, the Senate did not have sufficient time to consider their map,” Oliva wrote in a memo to members that was released to news media. “In contrast, we have had a few days to review the Plaintiffs’ map.”

Oliva, a Miami Lakes Republican, said his staff “prepare(d) an amendment that incorporated concepts found in the Plaintiffs’ map that I believe improved the base map. I look forward to presenting you with greater detail on Monday.”

Calling redistricting an “extraordinary process,” he said his chamber now has “a lot to consider in a very compressed time frame under direction from the Courts that evolve with each case.”

After a cursory review, the House proposed map contains many of the same issues that vexed Senate Democrats and even some Senate Republicans: Having a district that crosses Tampa Bay, putting the city of Sarasota in a different district than the rest of Sarasota County, and splitting Alachua and Volusia counties into separate districts.

But the House map also keeps Clay and St. Johns counties “unlinked,” which had been another point of contention, and keeps all of eastern Hillsborough County in one district.

It also continues, as Galvano noted, to reshuffle the boundary lines in South Florida.

“I appreciate your patience and look forward to providing you with a constitutionally compliant map that I believe we can all be proud to support,” Oliva wrote.

The Legislature is in the middle of a three-week Special Session to redraw the state’s 40 senatorial districts. It settled a court challenge that its current map was gerrymandered for Republicans and incumbents by admitting fault and agreeing to redraw the lines.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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