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

Redistricting Workshops Today!

Don’t forget that the Florida House’s three redistricting subcommittees (House, Senate and Congressional) will be workshopping options for Florida’s redistricting maps today.  To watch the meeting live visit the Florida Channel at http://thefloridachannel.org/, or visit http://thefloridachannel.org/featured-stories/redistricting/ to watch the replay later.

The Congressional Redistricting Subcommittee and Senate Redistricting Subcommittee will both go from 12pm-2pm.  The House Subcommittee is scheduled to start at 2:30pm.

On Tuesday, the Florida House’s Redistricting Committee released seven options for Florida’s Congressional map and five options for Florida’s State House map.  If you want to study the options for Florida’s House, Senate and Congressional maps visit the Redistricting Bills link at www.floridaredistricting.org.

And if you’ve got a comment or suggestion about the maps, feel free to comment at our Public Input blog, post to our Facebook, send us a tweet, or send us an email to mydistrictbuilder@myfloridahouse.gov.

Happy Thursday!

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

Getting Informed: What’s Next for Florida’s Redistricting?

The Florida House of Representatives’ Office of Public Information just released their latest “Informer” with lots of information to guide you from the end of the Summer 2011 public input meetings into the Fall 2011 Interim Committee meetings.

If you only just started following the Florida redistricting process, the Informer can catch you up to what’s been going on.  If you’ve been thinking about nothing but redistricting for the last nine months, the Informer will give you insight and resources regarding the next steps in the process.

Enjoy!

Filed under: Committee Meetings, MyDistrictBuilder, Timeline, , , , , , , , , , ,

Public Participation: Where to Begin?

So you’re thinking about attending a public meeting on redistricting, or maybe submitting your redistricting suggestions via MyDistrictBuilder or social media, but you’re not sure where to begin?  How can you express your thoughts about the manner in which your districts should affect the representation of your community in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. for the next decade?

It seems like  a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.  In fact, it can actually be a fun and creative process, because there are so many ways to tell the story of your community.  Hopefully, the examples below will give you some ideas of how to submit your redistricting ideas to the Florida Legislature.

Submit a Social Media Comment:

  • Just because you can’t make one of the 26 public input meetings in-person does not mean you cannot participate.  You can access meeting webcasts live or replay by clicking here.  What’s more, you can submit your redistricting ideas before, during or after the meetings to our Facebook and Twitter sites, or email us at mydistrictbuilder@myfloridahouse.gov.
  • As an example, click here to see a comment that was submitted via Facebook during the June 20 Tallahassee public meeting.  The comment was a reiteration of a point made by a member of the public who spoke at the meeting, and the comment was actually read aloud at the meeting.

Submit Ideas as a Group:

  • No need to work alone in the complicated process of redistricting.  Check out the most recent set of redistricting plan suggestions at www.floridaredistricting.org‘s Plan Explorer page.  A group of Osceola County residents sent a clear message about what they want for their congressional district with a series of personalized emails, which you can read by clicking here.

Submit a Partial Redistricting Plan:

  • When you use MyDistrictBuilder to submit proposed redistricting plans, you don’t have to submit a complete map of every district in Florida.  If know about one region or even just a couple of counties in Florida, you can submit a partial plan for the State House, State Senate or congressional map. 
  • In a recent example, which you can view by clicking here, a Brevard County resident submitted just four districts for the State House, three in Brevard County, and one split between Brevard and Volusia counties.

Submit Video Testimony:

  • If you’re not sure exactly how to draw a map or find just the right words to author a suggestion, then show us the story of your community.  Capture your story on video, and then either send us the video file or a link to your video to mydistrictbuilder@myfloridahouse.gov.  Please keep your videos to two (2) minutes or less, please make sure we can clearly hear and see the audio and visuals that you are trying to convey, and definitely please keep the videos “family friendly.”  
  • Maybe you could take a video of you and your neighbors talking about how your districts affect your community.  Or maybe you could even show us the geography that you do or don’t want in the district.  Looking for some inspiration, check out the citizen comments in the below video summaries of our recent public meetings.

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

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.

Filed under: Public Meetings, Timeline, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , ,

RSVP for Summer Redistricting Meetings

Our friends in the Florida Senate created this helpful website to RSVP for this summer’s public hearings on redistricting:

RSVPing in advance of meetings is optional, but it does help us ensure that we adequately prepare for the number of Floridians who wish to present their ideas for redistricting.

Everyone is welcome at the public hearings to speak directly to the Senators and Representatives about redistricting.  Our sole purpose is listening to learn how you want the standards governing redistricting to be implemented and how you think districts in your area can work best for all voters and constituents.

Meetings will convene promptly at the scheduled start time and will adjourn upon the completion of business or the scheduled end time, whichever occurs first.  We will carefully budget time to hear as much public testimony as possible, and citizens are welcome to supplement the record with written materials.  Please let us know if you plan to attend and if you wish to speak at the meeting, so we can arrange enough seating and allot adequate time. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: 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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