Friday, April 15 – The Florida House of Representatives’ Rules & Calendar Committee approved proposed special amendment deadlines and procedures for amendments to redistricting plans in committees. The amendment deadlines and procedures were approved by unanimous voice vote of the Members of the Rules & Calendar Committee. The proposal must now be approved by the full House on April 20.
The committee-level deadlines and procedures for redistricting amendments (see below) will require amendments to redistricting plans to be submitted by noon, three business days prior to consideration. Substitute Amendments must be filed by noon, two business days prior to consideration.
The ability to enact special amendment deadlines and procedures is necessary for highly technical issues like appropriations and redistricting, giving Members and staff time to prepare all the necessary information for consideration of the amendments, giving Members dedicated time to submit substitute amendments, and affording both the Members and the Public adequate time to review and react.
The proposed special amendment deadlines and procedures do NOT affect submissions from the public to the House. However, the proposed deadlines and procedures certainly do give the public a guaranteed minimum period of review and react to redistricting amendments.
House Rule 7.12 provides for special amendment deadlines and procedures for amendments to both appropriations and redistricting bills in committees. There is a similar House Rule, 12.2, that is used for amendments to both appropriations and redistricting bills on the Floor.
There is no way today to predict whether redistricting bills will be ready to be taken up in committees prior to the start of the 2012 Session. Although, the House must enact these deadlines and procedures now, during Session, if it intends to have proper procedures in place for the possibility.
The House can deal with deadlines and procedures for the Floor, when the 2012 Session commences, January 10, 2012.