The Florida legislature imploded on Friday, as the Republican controlled Senate and the Republican held House could not reach an agreement on how to redraw the state’s legislative districts. Although the legislature was ordered by the State Supreme Court to redraw the maps, both chambers adjourned without accomplishing the task. The legislature’s failure to come together passes the burden onto Judge Terry Lewis, who has ordered hearings in September to draw Florida’s 27 Congressional Districts.
The drama unfolded on Friday, when the Senate rejected a proposed map from the House in the morning, instead demanding that the House accept a Senate drawn map. At 11 a.m. The House had the option to either accept the Senate map or extend the legislative session. They chose to do neither.
By a 99-3 vote the Florida House voted not to extend the session and to send the House drawn map back to the Senate. The Senate again voted to extend the session and sent a newly drawn map back to the House. In response, the House rejected the new map and again voted against extending the session.
The impasse between the two bodies lasted all day, and although the proposed maps weren’t radically different, both chambers refused to budge an inch. The acrimonious battle between the House and Senate drew comparisons to an equally bitter fight between the two chambers in the spring over Medicaid expansion.
The Florida House and Senate are both under Republican control. However, GOP lawmakers have become so intransigent that even with control of the Governor’s mansion and both chambers of the legislature, they can get very little done. Republicans often campaign by arguing that government doesn’t work. Then when Republicans get elected they set about to prove it. Florida’s battle over redrawing district lines shows once again that the Republican Party has become willfully incapable of governing.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.