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A website of the Florida House of Representatives' Redistricting Committee and www.floridaredistricting.org

Florida Redistricting Public Meetings: Are you Ready for Round 2?

July 11-13, the Florida House and Senate’s public input meetings on redistricting are coming to northeast and northcentral Florida.  Meetings will be held in Jacksonville (July 11), St. Augustine (July 12), Daytona Beach (July 12), The Villages (July 13) and Gainesville (July 13).

If you or someone you know would like to attend, below is driving and parking information for each location.  Note, the street address for the St. Augustine meeting has been revised.  You can keep track of the Meeting Calendar via www.floridaredistricting.org or download the full public meeting calendar here.  Also, below you will find Google Maps links for each meeting location.

If you cannot attend the meetings in-person, if you want to watch a video replay, bookmark http://www.floridaredistricting.org/media.aspx to watch the Florida Channel’s webcasting of the redistricting public input meetings.

And also note, Florida residents not-in-attendance can submit their redistricting comments via social media.  Social media comments that are directed to any of the following will be included in the public record of the meetings.  Time permitting, the comments may also be read aloud in the meetings.

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The Importance of Public Meetings; Webcasting and Social Media Opportunities

This week, the Florida House and Senate begin the first four of more than two dozen public input meetings on redistricting.  The meetings will allow the public to begin the redistricting conversation, allowing Floridians to share their perspectives on how to draw the lines for Florida’s new state legislative and congressional districts.

The meetings are only one aspect of the public participation process, but they are an important aspect of the process.  Frequently, redistricting authorities (in this case the Florida Legislature) are asked to demonstrate how the public were given an opportunity to offer ideas and comment.

The Brennan Center for Justice, a leading redistricting reform advocate, recommends public comment opportunities before and after maps are produced.  Specifically, they recommend citizens “demand hearings or a public comment period not only before draft maps are produced, but afterward…”

In 2009, one of the principal authors of Florida’s recently adopted constitutional Amendments 5 and 6, former Florida House Speaker Jon Mills, also commented on the virtues of public comment before and after maps are produced.  Mr. Mills wrote that Florida’s new legal standards for redistricting would prevent gerrymandering and preserve minority voting rights by, amongst other things, “The public, the press and non-governmental organizations will have the opportunity to comment before and after the Legislature draws the initial maps…”

For those Floridians at the public meetings, this is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to talk face-to-face with members of the Florida House and Florida Senate about how Florida’s many diverse communities should be represented in the redrawn district maps.

For those Floridians who cannot attend the meetings, there are still many opportunities to watch the meetings and even participate via social media.

First, Florida residents can visit http://www.floridaredistricting.org/media.aspx to watch the live webcast of redistricting meetings, via the Florida Channel.  The calendar of public meetings can be found at www.floridaredistricting.org.

Second, Florida residents can submit their comments via social media.  It is recommended that social media participants clearly identify to which meeting they wish their comments to be directed.  For example, including “#Tallahassee”, “#Pensacola”, “#FortWalton”, or “#PanamaCity” are easily recognizable ways to indicate that a comment is associated with a particular meeting.

Social media comments that are directed to any of the following will be included in the public record of the meeting.  Time permitting, the comments may also be read aloud in the meeting.

But again, the public meetings are only part of the process.  The records from those meetings – videos, podcasts, transcripts and more – will be archived and available via www.floridaredistricting.org.  Along with information submitted via the House’s MyDistrictBuilderTM online district building application and other outreach efforts, the collective input of the public can start, sustain and watch over Florida’s redistricting process.

In fact, today Floridians can visit the resources available via www.floridaredistricting.org’s Blog & Resources page, Plan Explorer, and Meeting Records page to see how the redistricting conversation has already taken shape. 

For example, the Plan Explorer page already includes early redistricting plan ideas submitted by Florida residents.  The Meeting Records page already includes the library of redistricting committee meetings from the 2011 Session.  And the Blog & Resources page contains many articles like this and other resources for Florida residents who wish to gain greater insight and access into the redistricting process.

All told, the Florida redistricting conversation is about to become a dynamic two-way conversation, a massive “crowdsourcing” effort, that will shape the next decade of state and federal elected representation in Florida. 

So we hope to see you at a public meeting soon or hear from you via any of the resources mentioned above!

Filed under: MyDistrictBuilder, Public Meetings, Public Participation, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Preparing for the Florida Redistricting Public Input Meetings

As we are less than a week away from the start (June 20) of the 26 public input meetings on redistricting throughout Florida, we are continuing to provide additional informational and materials that may help Floridians prepare to participate.

First, the helpful materials at the Public Participation Toolkit page provide a number of ways to learn about and get involved in redistricting https://mydistrictbuilder.wordpress.com/participation/.

New to the Public Participation Toolkit, the Introductory Brochure on Florida Redistricting is featured below.  The tri-fold brochure will be available at each public meeting, serving to help give attendees a starting point for the Florida redistricting conversation.

Second, it may be helpful to understand how these 26 meetings will proceed.  The public input from these meetings and other forms of public participation will serve as the starting point for redistricting.  Therefore, the specific purpose at these hearings is listening to public testimony. 

Filed under: Public Meetings, Public Participation, , , , , , , , , ,

Updates to www.floridaredistricting.org coming soon!

Over the next week or so we will be implementing some changes to www.floridaredistricting.org.  With the launch of our Blog & Resources page, www.floridaredistricting.org is taking on a more simplified role as a front page for an entire universe of information about Florida redistricting.

So what purposes will www.floridaredistricting.org serve in the near future?

  • As we’re about to begin public input meetings on redistricting throughout Florida, www.floridaredistricting.org will provide updates and access to scheduling information.
  • The site will remain the best access point to MyDistrictBuilder.
  • The site will provide public outreach, participation and educational materials.
  • The site will provide introductions to the legal and legislative sides of redistricting.
  • The site will offer insight into MyDistrictBuilder, including user help and support.

Beyond the content at www.floridaredistricting.org, the site will continue to serve as a gateway to an expanding universe of information, including social media, this blog and resources, legislative archives, and eventually access to the plans and suggestions submitted by Floridians.

For example, as a visitor to our Plan Explorer page, you will be able to search and review redistricting plans and ideas submitted by other Floridians – blog, share, and use as a foundation for your own input.  You will be able to take the redistricting plans and load them into MyDistrictBuilder, so that you can edit them, and resubmit them with your own twist on someone else’s idea.

Crowdsourcing – Florida redistricting style!

In the meantime, many of our resource links have moved here – to the Blog & Resources page.  The resources on the right side of the page are geared towards what you might want for drawing or analyzing redistricting plans.  The resources in the middle are focused on news and big picture items – why, what, how, etc.

As our pages evolve, if you lose track of a favorite link or a resource, just email us at mydistrictbuilder@myfloridahouse.gov.  And as always, feel free to let us know if you have any other questions or comments.

Happy Almost Friday!

Filed under: MyDistrictBuilder, On the Web, Public Meetings, Public Participation, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blog & Resources

This Blog and Resource page offers additional insight into the legislative process for Florida's redistricting, a broader array of resources, and additional opportunities to partcipate in the redistricting conversation.

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