It's a Numbers Game in Tallahassee

Today, the Senate Reapportionment Committee begun day two of debate on the proposed Senate maps. One of the hot topics Senators are discussing: how the Senate districts are numbered.

How districts are numbered is actually incredibly important. The Sun-Sentinel explains it:

"Because state senators serve four-year terms and those terms are staggered so that the entire Senate doesn't face re-election at the same time, the Florida Constitution requires that in the first presidential election after every once-a-decade redistricting process, all even-numbered districts would elect senators to two-year terms and odd-numbered districts would get four-year terms. In 2014, the even-numbered districts would stand for regular four-year terms.

The two-year terms would also not count against the term-limitations imposed on lawmakers. So, a legislator who gets an even-numbered district would be allowed to serve longer than eight years."

So you see, how they assign the numbers will allow certain Senators to serve for 10 years as opposed to 8. The first Senate map released gave several incumbents the 10 year advantage. In it's decision declaring the Senate maps unconstitutional, the Supreme Court took issue with the way districts were numbered.

Now legislators must decide how to assign the numbers. One idea that seemed to have support was a lottery style drawing to randomly assign districts. Senate President Mike Haridopolos even sent his chief of staff to the committee meeting with two bingo-style drawing cages. Some Senators objected to the style of the presentation, saying it was not part of Senate decorum to have "these balls in the Senate Chamber". That comment was immediately followed by a series of ball jokes.

That's the Florida legislature folks.


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