If there have been ever a particular session of the Florida Legislature to earn the doubtful distinction of not being all that particular, it is the one scheduled this Tuesday. In impact, state lawmakers are returning to Tallahassee to kowtow to the governor, who needs to redraw congressional districts to offer Republicans a major benefit within the subsequent Congress.
Partisan politics once more trumps coverage. Final week legislative leaders threw within the towel and guaranteed Gov. Ron DeSantis may usurp the redistricting course of. After threatening to veto any maps lawmakers had drawn, the Governor will get his approach, with a map he drew that reinforces Republican illustration on the expense of Black and Brown voters.
“At the moment, legislative reapportionment employees is just not drafting or producing a map for introduction throughout the particular session,” Senate President Wilton Simpson and Home Speaker Chris Sprowls wrote in a memo. “We’re awaiting a communication from the Governor’s Workplace with a map that he’ll help.”
FOR SUBSCRIBERS:Governor tainting Congressional maps
Hoist the white flag, and maintain a particular session to rubberstamp a brand new map that may find yourself in pricey litigation. A lot for the equal branches of presidency, to not point out any concern about spending $100,000 a day for a suspect session.
For that kind of cash, lawmakers ought to be spending time fixing actual issues, not creating them. The excellent news, if certainly any involves cross, is that some legislators are nonetheless attempting to handle one challenge that eluded them throughout the common 60-day session — the state’s hovering property insurance coverage charges. SB 1728 would have helped but it surely died on the final day of the common session, after Senate President Wilton Simpson did not win help for the invoice from Home Speaker Chris Sprowls.
Credit score state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R.-St. Petersburg, for beginning the method of forcing the problem onto this week’s agenda. Utilizing a procedural vote, he and 20% of the Legislature compelled a vote to find out if three-fifths of the Legislature would agree to make it occur. Now, if solely Simpson and Sprowls may come to phrases, which hasn’t occurred but and makes the probability of reconsidering property insurance coverage iffy at greatest.
Fixing property insurance coverage is sophisticated. It takes time and desires consensus. No surprise Gov. DeSantis has been snug main from behind on this challenge, not like his badmouthing The Walt Disney Co., signing voter suppression legal guidelines on “Fox and Pals,” or going after black majority congressional districts, that are legally rooted in federal regulation and the Florida Structure.
The governor is fixated on creating “race-neutral” congressional districts. Translation: diluting minority votes. His precedence is to redraw congressional districts in north Florida and Orlando, to strip Black and Brown voters there of getting minority illustration in Washington. The change would give Republicans an opportunity at 20 of the state’s projected 28 congressional seats, up from their present, 16-11 majority.
So, residents who’ve seen their dwelling insurance coverage premiums raised past perception or cancelled outright are left to depend on a particular session that will not deal with their issues. For Annette Taddeo, a state senator and Democratic candidate for governor, there’s another choice. She’s urging her colleagues to boycott. “If the governor needs to make an actual distinction in Floridians’ lives and sort out the insurance coverage price disaster or the housing disaster, I’ll see him in Tallahassee,” she tweeted. “However, I’ll be damned if I’m displaying as much as kiss his ring and waste taxpayer cash for an unconstitutional map that erases Black and Brown voices from the electoral course of.”
Lawmakers can nonetheless deal with property insurance coverage however provided that sufficient of them conform to push for it. In any other case, the concept of boycotting a meaningless session is nearly as good as any.
Editor’s Notice: There may be nonetheless an opportunity property insurance coverage may make the reduce on this week’s particular session and we might like to listen to from you, to let state leaders know how severe this disaster is. Ship your feedback, detailing the challenges and the steps state leaders ought to absorb making reasonably priced property insurance coverage accessible, to [email protected]. Letters should not exceed 200 phrases, are topic to enhancing and should embody your identify, deal with and daytime cellphone quantity (We’ll publish solely your identify and metropolis). Let your voice be heard on this vital topic.