The first day of Florida’s special session to tackle redistricting has been met with criticism by opponents of Gov. Ron DeSantis, as two of his gubernatorial foes in Nikki Fried and Annette Taddeo have both spoken out against the convening of lawmakers, with Taddeo boycotting the three-day event entirely.
Democrats at large were critical of Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls deferring redistricting map drawing duties to DeSantis ahead of the special session. The move came after in-party disagreements between lawmakers and DeSantis largely predicated on the Al Lawson-led Congressional District 5.
“It’s embarrassing that Republicans in the Legislature have decided to cede their authority as a separate and equal branch of government and instead allow Governor DeSantis to control the redistricting process,” said Fried in a statement. “This is a blatantly discriminatory effort on Governor DeSantis’s part to enact his unconstitutional maps, erase minority-access districts, and set up a challenge to the federal Voting Rights Act. If enacted during this Special Session, these unconstitutional maps will cost Florida taxpayers millions in another drawn-out court battle that will likely leave the lines blurred right up to the election.”
With the relinquishing of duty, DeSantis has full power over the final draft of maps, with the possibility to give Republicans an even stronger chokehold on state politics.
Taddeo, in response to the move, referred to it as an “unprecedented abdication of our duties as an elected body.”
“Floridians voted overwhelmingly to pass a constitutional amendment that ensures congressional maps be drawn by the state legislature to reflect the vast diversity of our state and in a nonpartisan fashion,” said Taddeo on Tuesday. “But earlier last week, Governor Ron DeSantis drew his own congressional map that clearly and intentionally erased representation of Black and Brown Floridians in an effort to draw more Republican-leaning seats. Last week I made the difficult decision to boycott the upcoming session.”
Let's call this special session what it is: A waste of taxpayer time and an insult to our constitution.
— Annette Taddeo (She/Her/Ella) (@Annette_Taddeo) April 13, 2022
Taddeo additionally called for legislators to join her in her absence from Tallahassee this week, though at the moment, it is believed that she is the only lawmaker to be involved with the boycott.