Florida Senate May Require All Senators to be on 2016 Ballot

The Legislature Begins Special Session on Redistricting

Over the summer, the Florida Supreme Court determined that Florida’s 40 Senate districts were unconstitutional and would have to be redrawn. The current map violates Florida’s Fair District amendment that prohibit the Legislature from drawing congressional or legislative districts that benefit incumbents or a political party. The legislature met on Monday, which was the first day of a committee week, and the three week redistricting Special Session. On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Reapportionment met to discuss proposed base maps, and options for who will have to run for reelection in 2016. When the Senate districts were changed in 2012, all 40 senators had to run for reelection in their seats due to a Florida Supreme Court ruling in 1982, stating that state senators must run for new terms if their districts are altered.

In a Senate Reappointment Committee meeting on Wednesday, the panel discussed whether they should put all of Florida’s 40 Senatorial districts on the ballot in 2016. The Legislature is midway through the first week of a three-week Special Session to redraw the state’s 40 senatorial districts. Senator Bill Galvano who is the Chair of the committee announced that he would hold a vote today to decide whether to assign random numbers to all 40 state Senate districts, a change that would likely all force senators to be on the ballot next year. Senators are normally elected to four year terms while House members are on the ballot every two years. Senator Galvano sees this a way to avoid future lawsuits, and to not be accused of trying to protect the seats of incumbents.