St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • Criticism pelts McKay tax reform plan
  • U.S. must reconsider black bear protection
  • New state building code is put on hold
  • GOP, black lawmakers may reunite on maps

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story
  • tampabay.com

    printer version

    GOP, black lawmakers may reunite on maps

    The two groups may well share common interests in the critical redrawing of political district lines.

    By LUCY MORGAN, Times Tallahassee Bureau Chief

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published December 18, 2001


    TALLAHASSEE -- Look for a renewed alliance between black legislators and Republicans this year as lawmakers begin redrawing the lines for legislative and congressional districts in Florida, says Sen. Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee.

    Lawson, a black Democrat from an 11-county district dominated by white voters, said he is seeing signs of the unusual alliance that developed 10 years ago when some African-Americans joined forces with Republicans and forced the creation of more minority districts.

    The minority districts stripped Democrats out of neighboring districts and helped Republicans win enough seats to gain control of the Legislature in 1996.

    "We don't even go to church together normally," Lawson told a predominantly white crowd at Capital Tiger Bay Club. Lawson, Senate Majority Leader Jim King and House Redistricting Council Chairman Johnnie Byrd were on hand to talk about redistricting plans that are expected to dominate the coming legislative session.

    Lawson said some of the Legislature's Democrats, now a minority in the House and Senate, want to shift minority voters into other districts to give Democrats a better chance at regaining seats lost since 1992.

    "Everyone wants a district they can be elected from," Lawson explained. "I am concerned about keeping communities of interest together."

    Byrd said he does not believe the old alliances will be as much of a factor this time. Ten years ago, legislators were working under orders from the U.S. Department of Justice to create more minority districts.

    "The law has changed in a huge way," Byrd noted. "We can't (step backward), but we can't use race as a primary factor in designing districts."

    This time legislators will be focusing on creating compact districts that are as equal as possible in population.

    That could be bad news for people such as U.S. Rep. Corinne Brown, a Jacksonville Democrat elected from a district that reaches from Jacksonville to Orlando, picking up minority neighborhoods along the way.

    King said the Senate is still at least two weeks away from crafting its first public map. Byrd and King pledged to conduct this year's mapmaking sessions in public.

    King predicted that this year's redistricting will probably be decided by the courts, just as the 1992 plan was. After legislators finish their work the House and Senate districts go to the Florida Supreme Court for approval and congressional districts are reviewed by the federal courts.

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
     
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan


    From the Times state desk