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Florida's Fair Districts Amendments: Past & Future

Florida Senate District Maps Since 2016
Florida Senate District Maps Since 2016

The U.S. Census Bureau released its first data set from the 2020 census last week, with more detailed numbers expected at the end of September. This means states, including Florida, are beginning the process of drawing new congressional, and state legislative districts as required by the U.S. Constitution. This happens every ten years after the census.

Here in Florida it’s up to the state legislature to draw the new districts, and because of two 2010 amendments to the the state constitution passed by Florida voters — called the Fair Districts Amendments — new districts are supposed to establish "fairness," be "as equal in population as feasible" and use existing "city, county and geographical boundaries."

But, in 2012 after the passage of the Fair Districts amendments Republican lawmakers were caught trying to circumvent their intent and the districts they created were thrown out by a judge in 2015. And, it remains to be seen whether next year’s redistricting process will follow this constitutional mandate, or not.

We plan on following this process closely on this show, as the 2022 legislative session approaches. For starters we’re going to get a bit of a history lesson from the leader of the Fair Districts Coalition, which led the 2010 effort.

Ellen Freidin is a Miami-based attorney, and leader of the Fair Districts Coalition.