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Senate signs off on redistricting bill

Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, only Democrat to support bill

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(Ap photo by Chris O'Meara)

With little discussion, the Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that wades back into redistricting issues.

The bill (SB 352) filed by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton, would set guidelines for what happens when redistricting legal cases are unresolved in election years.

For example, it would have the effect of ensuring that legislative boundaries in place at qualifying time would be used in that year's primary and general elections, according to a Senate staff analysis.

The bill was filed after long-running legal battles that led to Florida's congressional and Senate districts being redrawn before the 2016 elections.

Those legal battles stemmed from the Fair Districts anti-gerrymandering standards approved by voters in 2010.

The Republican-dominated Senate voted 24-14 to approve the bill along almost straight party lines.

Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, was the only Democrat who supported the bill. A House version (HB 953) has not been heard in committees.