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Revised Congressional Redistricting Map Now Law; Lawsuit Filed Against It

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Photo courtesy The Florida Channel/WPLG
The redistricting bill was signed Friday morning, privately, in Tallahassee. It was just one of four controversial measures the Governor signed into law that day.

Hialeah Gardens - Friday April 22, 2022: The fallout has just begun over the revised congressional districting map that was passed by the legislature Thursday, and signed into law the next day by Governor DeSantis.

The redistricting bill was signed early Friday, privately, in Tallahassee. It was just one of four controversial measures the Governor signed into law that day. Later, in Hialeah Gardens, the Governor signed the bill dissolving Walt Disney World’s private government, and he also approved a second Disney related measure removing Disney’s exemption to a bill targeting companies that censor conservative speech, both of which were also approved Thursday by the Legislature.

The fourth bill he approved during the Hialeah Gardens event is the so-called "Stop WOKE" bill, that is short for “Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees”, said the Governor. It would
bar the teaching of Critical Race Theory in Florida schools, and limit diversity training in the workplace. It requires that instruction, materials, and professional development be “consistent with principles of individual freedom” and allows Floridians to sue if they believe their school or workplace has violated the law.

Black Caucus Protest

Members of the Florida Legislature’s Black Caucus held a news conference in Orlando Friday to denounce passage of the Governor’s revised congressional district map.

A free and fair map was not what we were forced to accept up there in Tallahassee this week," said Kamia Brown, the Chair of the Legislature’s Black Caucus. "It was a blatant attempt to rig districts to favor the Republican Party and to systematically disenfranchise black voters and their voices in Congress.”

Some republican lawmakers have criticized the demonstration carried out by caucus members on the floor of the State House Thursday during the redistricting debate. Among them Brevard County Republican Representative Randy Fine who tweeted -“I hope the insurrection on the House Floor is dealt with.”

What that was, was a demonstration of civil disobedience. I will give you that," said Brown in response. "But if you look at the past of African Americans and how we were able to move forward in this county, that is what it took for us to be treated halfway as equals.”

State Senator Randolph Bracy warned more demonstrations are to come. “There are people so fired up that they want to start protests. You’re going to start seeing people in the street. It’s gotten to that point," he said.

Redistricting Lawsuit

The Florida League of Women Voters and other voting rights group joined to file a lawsuit Friday against against the redistricting law. The suit argues that the revised district map violates the Florida Constitution’s prohibition against diluting the opportunity to elect racial and language minorities to Congress.

However Governor DeSantis says the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution trumps the Florida Constitution and he’s confidence the courts will agree.

“This whole issue is a serious constitutional issue ," he recently said. "But at the end of the day what we proposed, you know, we’re confident that will hold up in court. I am not confident the other way would have held up in court.”