TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A congressional map pushed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was passed by the Florida House amid a protest by Black lawmakers who say the map will diminish the state’s Black representation in the U.S. House.
The DeSantis map would increase Florida’s GOP representation in Florida and dismantles two districts now held by Black members of Congress.
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As debate on the maps was nearing an end, Reps. Angie Nixon and Tray McCurdy opened up their suit jackets to display “Stop The Black Attack” T-shirts and shouted the same phrase. They sat on the state seal in front of the House speaker’s rostrum and were soon joined by other Black Democrats and other supporters.
The Republican-led chamber called a recess, all Republican lawmakers left the floor and the state Florida Channel stopped broadcasting the proceedings.
“This is good trouble! Necessary trouble!” Nixon shouted, echoing a phrase used by the late civil rights activist and congressman John Lewis.
The group sang “We Shall Overcome” and prayed. Some members went on Facebook to do live feeds of the protest. Nixon said in a text message to The Associated Press that the lawmakers would not leave the floor unless they were physically removed.
The House resumed session even as the lawmakers continued to chant and attempt to shout down the vote. The maps passed with a vote of 68 for and 34 against in a mostly party-line vote.
Following the vote, an attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center released a statement. It reads in part:
“Today Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law maps that “crack’ apart or ‘pack’ together communities of color to diminish their voice in government. Throughout the redistricting process, DeSantis has openly criticized majority-minority districts that provide equal representation to Floridians of color, and now he is weaponizing redistricting to replace some of those districts with majority-white districts.”
The Legislation was in special session to approve a new congressional map after DeSantis vetoed the maps lawmakers sent him. Republican leaders took a map from DeSantis instead of trying again to draw their own.