Gov. DeSantis Vetoes New Florida Congressional Maps

Gov. DeSantis Vetoes New Florida Congressional Maps ron desantis speaks during a news conference Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis (Chris O'Meara/AP)

By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 29 March 2022 01:21 PM

Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., vetoed new congressional maps Tuesday that had been approved by his state's Republican-led legislature.

State lawmakers produced a primary map and a secondary map, which courts could implement if the primary map was found to diminish Black voting power, Florida Politics reported.

The controversial two-map redistricting bill was approved by the legislature March 4, when DeSantis tweeted he "will veto the congressional reapportionment plan currently being debated by the House. DOA," dead on arrival.

DeSantis previously released his own proposal, which likely would eliminate two Black plurality districts.

Ryan Newman, general counsel to the governor, said neither map approved by the legislature would comply with the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection clause, Florida Politics reported.

The state legislature has called a special session for April 19-22. Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls issued a joint statement about the upcoming session.

"Notwithstanding the delayed census, during the 2022 regular session, Florida's Legislature passed new House and Senate maps with strong bipartisan support," Simpson and Sprowls wrote in their joint statement, Florida Politics reported. "For the first time in nearly a century, the legislature's maps were not challenged by a single party, and earlier this month were declared valid by the Florida Supreme Court.

"Unlike state legislative maps, the congressional map requires approval by the governor, and Gov. DeSantis has vetoed the legislation we passed earlier this month. Our goal is for Florida to have a new congressional map passed by the legislature, signed by the governor, and upheld by the court if challenged.

"Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to exhaust every effort in pursuit of a legislative solution."

Congressional maps are redrawn every 10 years after the federal census is released.

Two lawsuits have been filed regarding Florida's congressional map, Florida Politics reported.

Progressive critics filed a federal suit claiming DeSantis "has repeatedly and inappropriately inserted himself into the congressional redistricting process," and stressed the need for a congressional map to be implemented immediately.

A similar suit was filed in state court Friday against Secretary of State Laurel Lee and Attorney General Ashley Moody.

Whatever map is eventually approved by DeSantis will include a new 28th Congressional District, a result of Florida's population growing by 2.7 million new residents between 2010 and 2020.

DeSantis is running for reelection this year and is considered a potential presidential candidate in 2024.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Original Article