Florida Senate - 2017                              CS for SB 352
       By the Committee on Ethics and Elections; and Senator Hutson
       582-01940-17                                           2017352c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to legislative redistricting and
    3         congressional reapportionment; creating s. 97.029,
    4         F.S.; providing that candidate qualifying, nomination,
    5         and election for certain offices must proceed using
    6         current district boundaries if revisions to districts
    7         subject to a court challenge are not made as of a
    8         certain date; specifying public oversight procedures
    9         that a court is encouraged to follow when drafting a
   10         remedial redistricting plan; providing for
   11         construction; providing an effective date.
   13         WHEREAS, uncertainty regarding the boundaries of state
   14  legislative and congressional districts can create confusion
   15  among candidates and voters, with candidates uncertain as to
   16  which districts they should run in and how they should allocate
   17  finite campaign resources, and voters uncertain as to which
   18  district they reside in or the polling place to which they are
   19  assigned, and
   20         WHEREAS, with each redistricting of state legislative
   21  districts and each reapportionment of congressional districts,
   22  supervisors of elections are tasked with the timely and
   23  intricate process of redrawing precinct lines and reassigning
   24  voters to new polling places, and
   25         WHEREAS, finalizing the boundaries of state legislative and
   26  congressional districts shortly before an election hampers the
   27  ability of supervisors of elections and other election officials
   28  to effectively administer an election, and
   29         WHEREAS, in recent rulings relating to challenges to
   30  district boundaries, courts have recognized the legal and
   31  logistical difficulties associated with implementing revised
   32  district boundaries within an abbreviated timeframe, as well as
   33  the financial cost of holding a special election to implement
   34  new districts, NOW, THEREFORE,
   36  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   38         Section 1. Section 97.029, Florida Statutes, is created to
   39  read:
   40         97.029 Challenges to state legislative or congressional
   41  districts.—
   42         (1) If a challenge to the validity of boundaries of
   43  senatorial, representative, or congressional districts of the
   44  state is still pending in court when the qualifying period for
   45  persons seeking nomination or election to state or multicounty
   46  district office, other than the office of state attorney or the
   47  public defender, begins pursuant to s. 99.061(1), candidate
   48  qualifying, nomination, and election for the offices in the plan
   49  subject to the challenge must proceed using the districts that
   50  are in place on the 71st day before the primary election. If a
   51  court orders revisions to senatorial, representative, or
   52  congressional districts on or after the 71st day before the
   53  primary election, the revised districts shall govern beginning
   54  with the subsequent primary and general elections in the next
   55  even-numbered year.
   56         (2) If a court orders revisions to congressional districts
   57  after the qualifying period for persons seeking nomination or
   58  election to federal office has concluded at noon of the 116th
   59  day before the primary election, candidates for the United
   60  States House of Representatives must requalify in accordance
   61  with the revised congressional districts during the qualifying
   62  period from noon on the 71st day before the primary election to
   63  noon on the 67th day before the primary election.
   64         (3) In the event that a court drafts a remedial
   65  redistricting plan as a result of a successful challenge to the
   66  validity of boundaries of senatorial, representative, or
   67  congressional districts, the court is encouraged to use the
   68  following procedures in drafting the remedial plan in order to
   69  maintain public oversight:
   70         (a) Conduct public hearings on proposed configurations of
   71  district boundaries in the remedial plan.
   72         (b) Record and maintain minutes of meetings on the remedial
   73  plan which are closed to the public.
   74         (c) Provide a mechanism for the public to submit and
   75  comment on alternative maps.
   76         (d) Offer an opportunity for the public to review and
   77  comment on any proposed map before the remedial plan is
   78  finalized.
   79         (e) Maintain all e-mails and documents related to the
   80  drafting of the remedial plan.
   81         (4) This section does not supersede or impair the
   82  procedures governing the judicial review of apportionment as set
   83  forth in s. 16, Art. III of the State Constitution.
   84         Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.