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House judiciary panel will take up reforms to state high court

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

After a tense summer for relations between the state’s judicial and legislative branches, House Judiciary Committee Chair Charles McBurney says he will allow his panel to take up proposals to reform the Florida Supreme Court, though he said it’s too early to get specific as to what changes that reform might entail.

As first reported by Jessica Bakeman of Politico Florida, McBurney said his committee should consider a broad range of possible reforms.

“Whatever ideas that are out there, I think we should listen and hear what they are,” said the Jacksonville Republican on Tuesday.

The move comes as the Legislature convenes in Tallahassee to redraw congressional maps thrown out earlier this summer by the state’s high court.

Pensacola state Rep. Mike Hill wrote an incendiary letter late last month saying that in doing so, the court “is systematically rewriting the Constitution.”

“Through exception after exception, justified almost always by the same 5-2 majority, the Florida Supreme Court continues to chip away at this Legislature’s laws under the Florida Constitution and under common law,” Hill inveighed.

Though his fiery arguments were set when the House eschewed a provocative proposal by Hill to essentially ignore the court’s ruling and reenact existing congressional boundaries, those sentiments are likely to receive a hearing on McBurney’s panel come September, when the first committee meetings of the 2016 legislative season are set to commence.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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