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Statement By:
Barney Bishop III, President and CEO, Associated Industries of Florida

Regarding the Proposed Constitutional Amendment on Fair Districts Florida

December 1, 2009

“In the coming days, various legislative committees will begin Florida’s reapportionment process, which occurs every 10 years.

A proposal seeking to alter current law through a constitutional amendment is vague and unnecessarily duplicative of existing state and federal requirements. These initiatives are nothing more than solutions in search of a problem that are being promoted by groups like labor unions, trial lawyers and ACORN aiming to increase their political visibility.

Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) strongly opposes any proposed amendments that seek to place new redistricting and reapportionment guidelines in Florida’s Constitution.

There are no problems with the current redistricting process that has stood the test of time, produced equitable district boundaries and requires judicial review and approval.

As detailed in a joint letter to the Florida Office of Reapportionment from Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-Jacksonville) and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Miami), these measures will adversely affect existing congressional and legislative districts that are largely comprised of minority populations. If approved, these measures could dilute a district’s ability to re-elect a proven incumbent, which would lead to increased litigation and delay of approval for Florida’s next reapportionment plan.

The Florida Supreme Court has defined Florida’s existing reapportionment process as a fair, transparent and responsible mechanism for state governance. AIF vigorously opposes altering the Florida Constitution for such frivolous and unnecessary ideas that place the political aspirations of a few above the sound and proven policy of fair redistricting that has served Florida so well in the past.”