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Florida Constitution Revision Commission

PUB 700288: Independent Redistricting Commission by A Bruce King

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 16. Legislative apportionment.

SECTION 16.Legislative apportionment.
  1. SENATORIAL AND REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICTS. The legislature at its regular session in the second year following each decennial census, by joint resolution, shall apportion the state in accordance with the constitution of the state and of the United States into not less than thirty nor more than forty consecutively numbered senatorial districts of either contiguous, overlapping or identical territory, and into not less than eighty nor more than one hundred twenty consecutively numbered representative districts of either contiguous, overlapping or identical territory. Should that session adjourn without adopting such joint resolution, the governor by proclamation shall reconvene the legislature within thirty days in special apportionment session which shall not exceed thirty consecutive days, during which no other business shall be transacted, and it shall be the mandatory duty of the legislature to adopt a joint resolution of apportionment.INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMISSION. An independent Redistricting Commission is established with the sole purpose of drawing the Congressional and Legislative districts following Secions 20 and 21 after each Federal Census. The term for the Commission shall be the calendar year following the census year.
  2. QUALIFICATIONS. Each member of the Commission must be a resident of Florida full-time for the past five years and have voted in the last three state-wide elections For the past five years each member (and all others in his/her household) must not have been appointed, elected, or run for Congressional or state office, or served as an officer, employee, or paid attorney or consultant to a political party or campaign committee, or served as a registered lobbyist. In addition, Commission members are excluded from running for Congressional or Legislative office for four years after serving.
  3. SELECTION. A Review Panel wiil be administered by the Appellate Courts to vet, review, and select candidates from the applications received. The review process will reduce the candidates to three pools of thirty individuals each, one pool for registered Democrats, one pool for registered Republicans, and one pool for no party affiliation or third party registration, for a total of ninety individuals. Pool membership will only apply to individuals that did not change their registration for the past five years. In the next step, the four Legislative leaders (majority and minority) as well as the Chief Justice will each have the opportunity to strike no more than two names from each of the three pools. Then nine members (three each) will be drawn by lot from the three reduced pools. The initial nine members will name two more from each pool by unanimous vote to complete the Commission membership of fifteen individuals. The remaining pools of potential members will be retained if substitution is required later.
  4. ORGANIZATION. Strict openness will be enforced for the Commission's deliberations. All meetings of the Commission will be held in public session with fully recorded proceedings. There will be absolutely no discussion between individual members or between members and political party personnel that are not public and recorded. The position of Chairman and Vice Chairman shall be rotated and changed each meeting. These two temporary officers will not be from the same sub-group. All votes on redistricitng plans, procedures, hiring of staff, and selecting software, etc. shall require affirmative votes from a minimum of three members from each of the three sub-groups (super-majority) The Office of The Secretary of State shall provide all administrative support, including information technology, for the Commission.
  5. MINORITY DISTRICTS. Sections 20(a) and 21(a) require majority-minorty districts to not diminish the opporutnity for minorities to elect the candidate of their choice. Unfortunately this analysis requires access to party registation, voter turnout and primary and general election voting results and other data for certain districts that Commission members can not have available to them. This reqires the Commission to be authorized to hire voting analysis consultants to perfrom this task reporting back only the minimum percent minority voting age population (VAP) necessary to comply with the no diminishment requirement. For quality control, a closed judicial hearing of the consultant and the report will be made by the Second Circuit. The report and the judicial review will be sealed until the Commission's redistricting is complete and approved when it will beome part of the Commission's public record.
  6. LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL. The completed redistricting plans provided by the Commission will then be reviewed and voted on by an up or down vote (no ammendments) by the House and the Senate. In the event that a negative vote remands the redistricting plans back to the Commission, the instructions to the Commission shall be clear and specific as to what changes are needed consistent with the requirents of Sections 20 and 21.FAILURE OF LEGISLATURE TO APPORTION; JUDICIAL REAPPORTIONMENT. In the event a special apportionment session of the legislature finally adjourns without adopting a joint resolution of apportionment, the attorney general shall, within five days, petition the supreme court of the state to make such apportionment. No later than the sixtieth day after the filing of such petition, the supreme court shall file with the custodian of state records an order making such apportionment.
  7. JUDICIAL REVIJUDICIAL REVIEW OF APPORTIONMENT. Within fifteen days after the passage of the joint resolution of apportionment, the attorney general shall petition the supreme court of the state for a declaratory judgment determining the validity of the apportionment. The supreme court, in accordance with its rules, shall permit adversary interests to present their views and, within thirty days from the filing of the petition, shall enter its judgment.
  8. EFFECT OF JUDGMENT IN APPORTIONMENT; EXTRAORDINARY APPORTIONMENT SESSION. A judgment of the supreme court of the state determining the apportionment to be valid shall be binding upon all the citizens of the state. Should the supreme court determine that the apportionment made by the legislature is invalid, the governor by proclamation shall reconvene the legislature within five days thereafter in extraordinary apportionment session which shall not exceed fifteen days, during which the legislature shall adopt a joint resolution of apportionment conforming to the judgment of the supreme court.
  9. EXTRAORDINARY APPORTIONMENT SESSION; REVIEW OF APPORTIONMENT. Within fifteen days after the adjournment of an extraordinary apportionment session, the attorney general shall file a petition in the supreme court of the state setting forth the apportionment resolution adopted by the legislature, or if none has been adopted reporting that fact to the court. Consideration of the validity of a joint resolution of apportionment shall be had as provided for in cases of such joint resolution adopted at a regular or special apportionment session.
  10. JUDICIAL REAPPORTIONMENT. Should an extraordinary apportionment session fail to adopt a resolution of apportionment or should the supreme court determine that the apportionment made is invalid, the court shall, not later than sixty days after receiving the petition of the attorney general, file with the custodian of state records an order making such apportionment.