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Fair Districts Battle Ahead

January 25th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida lawmakers have already spent almost 3 hundred thousand dollars on the effort to redraw the state’s legislative and congressional districts, and the redrawing won’t take place for another two years. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, two new proposals to make the process more fair could result in millions more being spent.

More than a million and a half signed petitions later, Florida voters will see two new ideas on the November ballot. Both require lawmakers to draw political boundaries without regard to who is in power. One applies to congress, the other to state legislature.

Bob Milligan says what we have now doesn’t pass the common sense test.

“All you need to do is flash up a map of the districts in Florida and any objective citizen would look at it and say it’s crazy,” Gen. Bob Milligan with Fair Districts Florida said.

The two ballot initiatives were certified late Friday. Big business groups are already talking about a law suit to kick them off the ballot.

“You have a confluence of groups who are left-wing for whom the entire purpose of this is to take the power away from the establishment here in Tallahassee,” Barney Bishop with Associated Industries of Florida, said.

While it is those who are in power now, mostly Republicans, but some Democrats, who are fighting the change, it is ironic that two Republicans are leading the charge.

Party affiliation aside, Milligan, who served as state treasurer for eight years says who’s in control should not matter.

“The established standards–you are trying to have a fairly large box for people to wander around in–but the standards are designed to represent the people and not the interest of the party that is in power,” Milligan said.

If the amendments survive a legal attack, they will face a multi-million dollar television assault this fall.

If the proposed amendments make it to the 2010 they’ll need 60 percent voter approval to become law.

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