On Thursday, the Florida Legislature suffered a loss at the hands of Florida’s citizens. The Florida Supreme Court issued 2 advisory opinions upholding Fair Districts Florida’s proposed constitutional amendments regarding legislative and congressional redistricting.
The legislative redistricting constitutional amendment as proposed by Fair Districts Florida provides that redistricting measures cannot be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party. Districts also must be “compact,” and can’t be drawn to block racial or language minorities from having “equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice. So, I guess you can see why the Florida Legislature might not necessarily be thrilled to see these amendments on the 2010 ballot.
The ruling is a victory for Florida Democrats, who have had no way to win Republican-held seats without changes to the redistricting process. The Fair Districts Florida group now has to gather 677,000 valid signatures by February 1, 2010 to make it on the ballot. Then 60% of Florida’s voters have to vote to approve the constitutional amendments before they will become law in Florida.