TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (FNN) — On Saturday, a Florida judge ruled that a congressional map put forward by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) was unconstitutional and ordered the state legislature to redraw the boundaries.
Circuit Judge J. Lee Marsh found that the redrawn districts authorized by DeSantis in northern Florida violated the state constitution’s Fair Districts Amendments by “dismantling a congressional district that enabled Black voters to elect their candidates of choice under the previous plan.” See florida-ruling.
The district, which stretches across much of Florida’s northern border with Georgia, was previously held by Rep. Al Lawson, a Black Democrat who lost in the 2022 midterm election after the redistricting process.
In the previous district, 46.5 percent of the voting age population was Black. Under the new map, the four districts in the area are 23.1 percent, 15.9 percent, 31.7 percent and 12.8 percent Black.
The map approved in the 2020 redistricting cycle was submitted to the Florida legislature by DeSantis’s office, after the governor rejected two earlier maps passed by state lawmakers.
Lawyers for both the Florida House and Senate conceded in court that the map did not satisfy the non-diminishment requirement in the state constitution. Only the Florida secretary of state argued otherwise, according to Saturday’s ruling.
In 2022, NBC News also covered the sit-in, reporting that Florida Democratic state lawmakers shut down the state’s special legislative session for more than an hour with a pray-in and a sit-in at the center of the House floor chamber.
The surprising act of defiance began a little before noon, when Rep. Yvonne Hinson went over her allotted speaking time and had her microphone cut off, prompting other Black legislators to stand without being recognized and gather in the center of the chamber, showing off shirts that read “Stop the Black Attack” and sitting on the state seal on the blue carpet.
In all, four Black legislators and a Hispanic representative — Hinson, Angie Nixon, Travaris McCurdy, Felicia Robinson and Daisy Morales — occupied the center of the chamber as bewildered Republicans looked on.
Rep. Daisy Morales, an Orlando Democrat, held a sign that read: “Legislators serve the people. Not your party.”
The decision marks the latest blow to new congressional maps in Southern states.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Republican-drawn map in Alabama, ruling that it violated the Voting Rights Act. In a 5-4 decision, the court affirmed a lower ruling that ordered the GOP-led state to create a new map with an additional majority-Black district.
This is an ongoing story. Bookmark and follow Florida National News for more updates.
Congressman Maxwell Frost to join President Joe Biden on Office of Gun Violence Prevention Announcement
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost (FL-10) released a statement following President Biden’s announcement that the Administration will heed Frost’s and the gun violence prevention movement’s calls for the creation of a federal Office of Gun Violence Prevention to advance common sense policy and coordinate prevention efforts across federal agencies.
The move by President Biden comes months after Frost, the former Organizing Director at March for Our Lives, joined forces with Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and gun violence prevention organizations to introduce a bill that would create the first ever federal office to establish a coordinated response to the gun violence epidemic that is claiming over 100 lives a day. Rep. Frost will join President Biden for the official announcement Friday afternoon at the White House.
“As a life-long organizer and survivor of gun violence, I introduced legislation to create the first-ever Office of Gun Violence Prevention back in March because I refuse to ever accept that the senseless gun violence destroying our communities is normal,” said Rep. Maxwell Frost. “Today I am thrilled that President Biden has answered our call. This office is the first critical step to tackling gun violence head on and ensuring that the federal government can lead in the fight to live in a world where we never lose another life because of a gun. This is a win for the gun violence prevention movement and a win for the American public.”
“The newly announced Office of Gun Violence Prevention is a serious and bold step in the right direction for public safety. Local governments know all-too-well the incredible toll of gun violence in our communities. This federal initiative will provide invaluable data, analysis, insight, and support to local law enforcement and community leaders seeking real solutions to the national epidemic of gun violence. This breakthrough is the direct result of Congressman Maxwell Frost’s tireless advocacy. I want to thank him and President Biden for their commitment to keeping our communities safe,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
“This office is going to have a real, tangible impact on marshaling the resources of the federal government,” said David Hogg, co-founder of March For Our Lives. “But there’s also tremendous symbolic power here. March For Our Lives has been calling for this office since 2019, and it was one of our key campaigns that we worked on in 2021 back when Rep. Maxwell Frost was our Organizing Director. From standing in the cold outside the White House to demand this office, to Rep. Frost’s first bill calling for its creation, and now to the President acknowledging our demands and formally establishing an office of gun violence prevention, this victory shows the power of young people flexing our organizing and political muscle. With our power, we are going to end gun violence.”
Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Implementation of Florida’s Prescription Drug Reform Act
Florida Legislative Black Caucus to Kick Off State of Black Florida Tour
MIAMI, Fla. – Representative Dianne Hart (D- Tampa), Chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, will be joined by members of the FLBC, clergy, and Orange Blossom Classic leadership for a press conference to kick off the “State of Black Florida” tour. This press conference, as the ones to follow, will highlight the pressing issues facing Black Floridians. In the following weeks the FLBC will hosts press conferences and events in the following cities: Tallahassee, Gainesville, Orlando, Jacksonville, and others to be announced at a later date.
WHAT: Press Conference to kick off the Florida Legislative Black Caucus “State
of Black Florida” Tour
WHEN: Friday, September 1, 2023
WHERE: JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort
19999 W Country Club Dr, Aventura, FL 33180