As early voting got underway for the August 26 primary, the Florida Legislature passed new congressional districts on nearly party-line votes in the House and the Senate on Monday. The map now goes back to the courts.
It was a scene not unlike when lawmakers passed a congressional map two years go – Republicans taking a victory lap at the statehouse – for following the anti-gerrymandering Fair Districts amendments voters approved in 2010.
Florida lawmakers are gearing up for a little overtime. The Legislature kicks off a special session on Thursday, to redraw congressional districts.
The memo was issued Sunday by Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford. It came two days after Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis ordered lawmakers to redraw the districts of Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown of Jacksonville and Republican Congressman Dan Webster of Orlando, and submit a map to him by Aug. 15. Gaetz – a Republican from Niceville -- says that’s not an unreasonable deadline.
Qualifying for state and local offices in Florida closed at noon on Friday, June 20. While Gov. Rick Scott and the three Republican members of the Cabinet all drew opponents, several incumbent members of the Florida Legislature were re-elected without opposition.
Two of them are in Northwest Florida.
Greg Evers of Baker is headed for a second and final four-year term in the Florida Senate, representing District 2.
“It’s very humbling that folks thought enough of you that they were able to elect you without opposition.”
The community action group Movement for Change has been a fixture in Pensacola since the 1990's; officially established in 1997. Led by activist Leroy Boyd, who died in 2010, their original mission was the renaming of Pensacola’s Alcaniz Street in honor of slain civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Over the years, members of the organization have tackled numerous social justice issues, ranging from disparities in education, law enforcement, and the voting process.
The Florida Legislature is entering the fourth week of the 2014 legislative session and will reach the half-way point on Wednesday, March 26. During the session, WUWF is checking in with Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville).
Before exploring what’s ahead, Sen. Gaetz reflects on third week highlights, which includes the Florida Senate’s budget proposal for Fiscal year 2014-2015.
One of the issues the legislature will take up in this year's session is Performance Based Funding for Florida's Universities. And, if implemented, the system could cost the University of West Florida a lot of money.
Gov. Rick Scott touted Florida's improving economy in his fourth State of the State Address, which also made a case for re-election as much as it laid out his plan for the final year of his first term. Any doubts that the 30 minute speech would also serve as the unofficial kickoff to Gov. Scott’s re-election bid were dispelled right out of the gate. The Republican referred to the economy under predecessor Charlie Crist – without mentioning the former Republican who is now running for governor as a Democrat. “Florida was in a hole. Unemployment was around 11%,” said Scott.
Florida Governor Rick Scott delivers his annual State of the State address Tuesday, March 4, signaling the start of the 2014 Legislative Session. His speech will start at 10 a.m. Central Time. Again this year, Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford have joined together on a priority agenda. “These are issues that rise above politics and we think they can get done. They must get done. We will get them done,” says Gaetz, a Republican from Niceville.