I posted in late January about the redistricting of Allen West by the Republican controlled Florida legislature, including reports from the Florida blog The Shark Tank (which won Best State-Level Blog at CPAC this year) that West specifically was targeted.
Republicans in control of the process denied targeting West, asserting that changes were mandated by state and federal law, something West denied. West ended up switching districts to avoid the consequences of the redistricting.
Whether and to what extent West was targeted now may never be known.
As The Shark Tank points out today, the Republican controlled legislature is in the process of passing legislation not only insulating legislators from suit personally (something which is common in most states) but also shielding documents relating to the redistricting even in lawsuits challenging the redistricting:
The legislature once heralded as the “most conservative legislature” is now trying its best to re-brand itself as the “bi-partisan” Florida legislature as it has collectively drafted legislation that shields all legislators, staffers and pertinent documentation from being subpoenaed in any potential litigation that may challenge the legislature’s redistricting of legislative and congressional districts.
Via The Miami Herald the proposal reads in pertinent as follows (emphasis mine):
“A member or former member of the legislature has an absolute privilege in any civil action, judicial administrative proceeding or executive branch administrative proceeding against compelled testimony or the compelled production of any document or record in connection with any action taken or function performed in a legislative capacity.”
The legislation is not limited to redistricting disputes, and is not specific to West, but the timing is curious. The Miami Herald article suggests that “the prospect of a protracted fight over whether or not the staff drew maps to protect incumbents, legislators want to pass a law that clarifies that opponents should keep their distance.”
In the Sunshine State, sunshine as to the redistricting of Allen West will not be not permitted.