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  [FL] State Supreme Court throws out redistricting amendment
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ContributorRob Brodner 
Last EditedRob Brodner  Mar 23, 2006 07:26pm
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MediaNewspaper - San Jose Mercury News
News DateFriday, March 24, 2006 12:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionA push by Common Cause and former Florida politicians to take the power of redistricting out of the hands of the Legislature was knocked off the November ballot by the Florida Supreme Court today.
The court ruled 6-1 that a proposed constitutional amendment to create an indepedent commission to draw districts for the Legislature and for Congress violate the state's single-subject requirements for citizen sponsored initiatives and would mislead voters. Justice Harry Lee Anstead was the lone justice to oppose the ruling.
''We had hoped that the people of Florida would have an opportunity to speak on this question, whether they want self-interested politicians drawing their own districts,'' said Ben Wilcox, executive director of Common Cause of Florida and chairman of the Committee for Fair Elections.
Wilcox said his group may try to revamp its amendment and gather the 600,000-plus signatures to place it back on the ballot by 2008.
The effort to create an indepedent commission has been backed by many prominent Democratic politicians, including former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham and former state educiation commissioner Betty Castor, as well as former Republican Comptroller Bob Milligan.
But the proposal was opposed by Gov. Jeb Bush and Republican legislative leaders, who saw it as a threat to the GOP's ability to retain control over districts. Thursday's ruling was hailed by Republican Party leaders who called the proposed amendment a ``power grab.''
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