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Florida Gov. DeSantis vetoes new congressional maps

The move puts pressure on the GOP-dominated Legislature to approve a map and resolve any resulting lawsuits before the June qualifying period for federal candidates.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 24, 2022.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 24, 2022.Marco Bello / Reuters file
/ Source: Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In a rare disagreement with the Republican-dominated Legislature, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed the state’s newly draw congressional maps Tuesday and lawmakers will hold a special session in April to redraw them.

The veto puts more pressure on the Republican-dominated Legislature to approve a map and resolve any resulting lawsuits before the June 13 to 17 qualifying period for federal candidates. Florida is also creating a new 28th district because of population growth.

“In their, I guess, understandable zeal to try to comply with what they believe the Florida constitution required, they forgot to make sure what they were doing complied with the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” DeSantis said during a news conference.

DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, interjected himself into the once-a-decade process of drawing new political lines following the federal census by submitting his own map. The Senate did not take the governor’s map into consideration, and the House approved two maps, a primary map to try to appease DeSantis and a second in case the first map was found to be unconstitutional.

While the House was debating the bill, DeSantis used Twitter to say the plan was “DOA.”

Republican Senate President Wilton Simpson and Republican House Speaker Chris Sprowls told lawmakers to return to the Capitol on April 19 to 22.

“Our goal is for Florida to have a new congressional map passed by the Legislature, signed by the Governor, and upheld by the court if challenged,” the leaders said in a joint statement.

At the news conference, DeSantis said, “We’re not going to have it draw by a court.”

In 2010, voters approved a constitutional amendment aimed at preventing gerrymandering. It states that political maps have to be drawn in a way that does not favor or hurt a candidate or party, that districts should be compact and contiguous and that the ability of minorities to elect members to Congress should not be diminished.

DeSantis argues that a later U.S. Supreme Court ruling determined that districts can’t be drawn with race being the primary factor. The governor’s map would likely result in two Black members of Congress losing their seats.