The Florida Legislature’s upcoming two-week special session on congressional redistricting will be marked by extraordinary procedures, mainly to comply with recommendations by the state Supreme Court.
Legislators are under orders not to meet with members of Congress, political operatives or party leaders to discuss district boundaries. They are required to retain “all emails and other documents,” and to promptly forward them to a single central address to be stored, because the new map must be reviewed by the courts before it can go into effect.
Legislative leaders are striving for greater transparency. In a memorandum issued Wednesday, Senate President Andy Gardiner told senators that if they want to amend the staff’s newly-created “base map,” they should ask for an appointment with Jay Ferrin, staff director of the Senate Reapportionment Committee.
When the Times/Herald asked for a list of senators seeking appointments, the request was denied on the grounds of confidentiality. While drafts of bills and amendments typically are not public records, Gardiner’s office emphasized that any filed amendment will immediately be public. Here’s the relevant statute cited by Gardiner’s office:
11.26 Legislative employees; employment restrictions.—No employee of the Legislature shall:
(1) Subject to the provisions of s. 11.0431, reveal to any person outside the area of the employee’s direct responsibility the contents or nature of any request for services made by any member of the Legislature, except with the consent of the member making such request.
Original article here.