In a special session on Thursday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in Florida voted to approve Gov. Ron DeSantis' plan to redraw the state's 28 districts that splits up Black voters, ABC News reports. The bill would also eliminate Walt Disney World's special district.
According to the reports, DeSantis' map would eradicate gains by Democrats made during the national redistricting process by adding four Republican-leaning seats and eliminating three “toss-ups” seats from the previous map. The result would leave Florida with eight Democrat-leaning seats and 18 Republican-leaning seats, threatening the slim majority that the Democrats hold on the House of Representatives.
The map would also wipe out the number of Black-majority from four to two and transform Florida's 5th District, which stretches in North Florida from Tallahassee to Jacksonville and is represented by Rep. Al Lawson in Congress.
DeSantis vowed to submit a "race-neutral" map earlier this month.
"We are not going to have a 200-mile gerrymander that divvies up people based on the color of their skin. That is wrong," DeSantis said. "That is not the way we've governed in the state of Florida and so that will be that. And obviously, that will be litigated."
DeSantis called the special session after vetoing a GOP drawn map that passed through the Florida House and Senate, claiming that “the preservation of districts that lump voters together by race was unconstitutional.”
The bill would also eliminate Walt Disney World's special district ending the 25,000-acre Reedy Creek Improvement District that Walt Disney World operates as its own municipality, along with five others.
Rep. Angie Nixon, who was among the Florida Democrats' who attempted to block the two bills, demanded the legislature draw its own map instead of moving forward with DeSantis’ map.
"Our demands are clear. The legislature needs to draw maps,'' Nixon said. "The Republicans in leadership need to come to the Democratic leadership, and we're going to draw some constitutional maps. Those are our demands and we will not be moved."