• Special session to redraw state's congressional maps underway


    TALLAHASSEE - They were caught breaking the law, and now state lawmakers are back at work to fix the mess they created.

    The special session to redraw the state's congressional maps is underway. The rare summer session is costing taxpayers thousands of dollars a day and it may be a while before any results are seen.
    Civility reigned as the Florida House began discussing how to fix the state's unconstitutional congressional maps.
    But behind the scene Democrats remained skeptical that the same Republicans who gerrymandered the districts in 2012 could produce fair maps this time.
    "The people who are in charge need to be held to a higher standard," House Minority Leader Perry Thurston said Thursday.
    Thurston asked if the House committee that will draw the maps – the committee has eight Republicans and five Democrats -- will take questions about the lines from other members, as a way of ensuring a fair process.
    "Certainly in this last session when we were here to do this that wasn't done," said Thurston.
    "Any amendments to the maps will be debated, amended in committee," said Rep. Richard Corcoran, a Republican from Land O' Lakes.
    Republicans said they will be open to comments.
    Meanwhile the clock is ticking and the price tag is escalating.
    The state will spend about $60,000 a day paying for the special session.
    Under the judge's order, they must redraw Democrat Corinne Brown and Republican Daniel Webster's districts.
    But it won't stop there, an early map, already submitted fixes the two districts, but in doing so also makes slight changes to five other districts.
    Lawmakers know, they must satisfy the judge's order, but that every line they move only costs more money.
    Officials said it will coast millions of dollars to hold a special election, and every county that has even one line move will need to hold a special election, perhaps in December.

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    Special session to redraw state's congressional maps underway