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Legal battle over state Senate districts coming to an end

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A contentious battle over Florida state senate districts is coming to an end. The Florida Senate is not going to appeal a redistricting ruling handed down in December. Circuit Judge George Reynolds in that decision signed off on a map drawn by a coalition of voting rights groups. That decision means that Republicans could lose control of the state Senate. That’s because the map chosen by Reynolds is split nearly evenly between GOP and Democratic-leaning districts and will likely create…

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The next redistricting fight: Who pays the attorneys?

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The Florida Legislature is continuing to oppose an effort by the plaintiffs’ attorneys to get their fees paid by state government now that the congressional redistricting case has been closed. Lawyers for House and Senate filed more legal authority with the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday to support their position that the opposing lawyers are “not entitled to an award of attorney’s fees.” Last month, the court gave its final OK to a redrawn version of the state’s 27 congressional districts, three years…

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5 Florida pols screwed by the redistricting ruling

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In a decision that could signal the end of Republican domination of the Florida Legislature, a circuit judge last week approved a new map for 40 state Senate districts. Judge George Reynolds‘ ruling rejected boundaries for Senate districts drawn up by a top Republican. Reynolds instead signed off on a map drawn by a coalition of voting rights groups that could shift control away from the GOP. Reynolds’ ruling cannot come as a surprise to anyone who has paid a sliver…

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Gay marriage is biggest Florida story of 2015, poll says

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Florida’s biggest news story for 2015 happened in the year’s first days, when the state became the 36th with legalized gay marriage, according to an Associated Press poll of the state’s newspaper and broadcast editors. Gay marriage easily beat out the No. 2 story, the long-running saga over the districts the Florida Legislature drew for Congress and the state Senate that had to be redrawn because they violated the state’s 2010 anti-gerrymandering law. The first same-sex marriage happened Jan. 5…

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Today on Context Florida: Killing in God’s name, Kurly’s latke recipe and defending our Constitutions

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Today on Context Florida: There has been a lot of talk about mass shootings and the Second Amendment. Jac VerSteeg asks us to talk a little bit about mass shootings and the First Amendment. The First Amendment is a sweeping guarantee of rights for individuals, churches and the press. There are limits to the free exercise of religion, VerSteeg says. Courts have intervened, for example, when parents have refused to seek medical treatment for children because they believe God should do…

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Dennis Ross glad he’s “still living in his district” after redistricting

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Republican U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross of Lakeland said he can live with the new shape of his 15th Congressional District approved by the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday even though it cuts more of his home county out of his district. Like many Florida members of Congress, Ross’ district boundaries changed when the court certified the redistricting of congressional territories. He lost the cities of Bartow and Mulberry in Polk County from his district and Temple Terrace and Lutz in…

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Florida Supreme Court approves new congressional map

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The Florida Supreme Court approved a sweeping overhaul of the state’s congressional districts on Wednesday, a move that will upend the political landscape ahead of the pivotal 2016 elections. The justices ruled 5-2 in favor of the new boundaries for many of Florida’s 27 districts. The ruling signs off on the map that Circuit Judge Terry Lewis approved earlier this year. The map would likely force Rep. Dan Webster to move districts to remain in office. It also could lead…

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