TALLAHASSEE -- The state Legislature has approved a new map for Florida's congressional districts after a judge ruled the former districts were drawn illegally to benefit Republicans.
The Republican-controlled Legislature voted largely along partisan lines Monday to approve a new map altering seven of the state's 27 congressional districts.
The changes would make two seats slightly more competitive for Democrats. But it's not certain the new districts will change Florida's congressional delegation. Republicans currently hold a 17-10 edge.
The map was tossed out last month by a judge who ruled it unfairly benefited the Capitol's majority Republicans. Now a new map is on the table and the debate is underway.
Already the new map is drawing criticism from House Democrats, who say it was put together in private by Republicans, undermining the very transparency the judge ruled was missing the first time around.
The new map was supposed to fix two meandering districts a judge has ruled benefits the GOP. One stretches from Jacksonville to Orlando, and the other from Eustis to Winter Haven.
But the new map doesn't look much different, which is another reason for the Democratic opposition.
"We shouldn't have to go through this again 10 years from now or a future Legislature 10 years from now," state Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, said.
But Republicans say the districts have been fixed and the rules have been followed.
State Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, drew the new map without help from GOP political consultants, who the judge said made a mockery of the process two years ago.
"The process we went through was, there was no gamesmanship or (shenanigans)...you know, whatever they claim, 'Let's hide the ball.' We said, 'Here's the map,'" Corcoran said.
But Democrats still want to know why they weren't involved in redrawing the maps.
"What sense of trust do I have that something has gone completely different than what happened in 2012?" Dudley said.
Republican leaders point out Democrats had a chance to offer amendments to the new map. They did but those amendments were ultimately defeated during committee hearings.
The Florida League of Women Voters also doesn't like the new map, and predict it will be tossed out as well.
The House and Senate are on track to hold final votes on the new map Tuesday.