Legislature Approves Redistricting Map Amidst Protests on the Floor; Bills Affecting Disney Also Approved
Tallahassee - Thursday April 21, 2022: As expected the Florida congressional redistricting plan was approved by the Florida House Thursday. It passed by a vote of 68-38.
68 mostly republicans voted for the new district boundaries. 38 mostly democrats opposed, some of whom, raised their voices in protest during the and prior to the vote.
A recess had to be called and the House Chamber was cleared when some democratic representatives took to the floor shouting their objections to the district map. The protest continued during an hour long recess as demonstrators sang 'We Shall Overcome'. The protest continued once the session resumed and during the vote.
Prior to the demonstration, the debate was intense.
Republican Mike Beltran - “We got really clean lines. We divide counties fewer times. We follow prominent geographic and political boundaries. And we’ve continued to improve our product. And I think we have done this in a fair and impartial way.”
Democrat Doti Joseph - “The Governor’s map is supposed to protect us from discrimination but does so by discriminating against black representation. The funny thing is his map were still able to protect Hispanic districts just fine.”
Republican Randy Fine - “All those shameful years that you want to remind us of, it wasn’t the predecessors of folks in the front rows. Today we pass maps that are constitutional. And they will be litigated and we will learn whether the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reigns supreme over the Florida State Constitution. That is the discussion at hand.”
Democrat Geraldine Thompson -“I will not sit here today and dishonor all of the things those individuals did to give us 3 seats in the United States Congress and today we have 4. And this map which is wrong, would take us to 2.”
The new congressional district map now heads to Governor DeSantis who has said he would approve it. After which a court challenge is expected.
Bills Affecting Disney Also Approved
The Florida House Thursday also gave final approval to a bill that would terminate the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a private government that Walt Disney World has been allowed to operate on its properties for more than five decades. SB-4C would eliminate self-governing districts by June 2023, although the door is open for the Legislature to revisit the issue next year, which many consider they will do after removing some of the privileges that Disney now enjoys, but allowing the special district status to remain.
Another Disney related measure was also approved that removes the theme park exemption in a bill targeting companies that censor conservative speech, the exemption was carved out for Disney last year in a bill that has since been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court which issued a temporary injunction blocking it.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has been feuding with the entertainment giant after it publicly declared its opposition to a new law backed by the governor that critics have dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.”