Florida lawmakers begin redistricting process

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - State lawmakers are starting to draw new maps for the once-a-decade redistricting process and they have a mountain of material to sort through from Floridians.

But the question remains: Will lawmakers use those ideas or dump them into a political black hole?

This week the deadline passed for people to submit their proposed maps to the Legislature. The final count is 153 maps.

State lawmakers also held 26 public hearings over the summer to listen to people's ideas on the subject. So lawmakers have received a record amount of ideas and now they start drafting their own maps.

The Republican leading the redistricting process in the House is pleased with all the public input. Rep. Will Weatherford says Floridians are engaged in the process.

"The idea is to not just have one map, but to have multiple options for members of the Legislature to look at, citizens across the state of Florida and all the interest groups that care about redistricting in Florida," Weatherford said.

House Democratic leader Ron Saunders applauds Republicans for having open meetings, but hopes the final decisions are not made behind closed doors.

"So far it's been open. We hope it continues to be open but in the past, at least 10 years ago when Republicans were first in charge, a lot of decisions were made behind closed doors. We hope that this time they'll be more transparent in their discussion, take more of the citizens' input in mind. Just because you hear people doesn't mean you actually act that way," said Saunders.

State lawmakers plan to unveil their first versions of maps in two weeks.

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