Florida Republicans on April 21 approved a new congressional map that severely limits Black voting power just after Black lawmakers staged a sit-in for over an hour inside the chamber.
The chamber passed the map in a 68 to 38 vote along party lines just before 1 p.m. as Black Democrats staged a vocal protest.
The map, drawn by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, eliminates two of four districts where Black voters have been able to elect the candidate of their choice.
Specifically, the map eliminates Black-performing seats in the Orlando area and across large swaths of North Florida.
The sit-in began after State Representative Yvonne Hayes Hinson, a Black Democrat, had her microphone cut as she ran out of speaking time in arguing against the map.
Black lawmakers gathered at the center of the chamber and began chanting, prompting the session to go into an indefinite recess.
“Today, we stood for freedom, democracy, and protecting everyone’s right to represent so that no matter what we look like or where we come from, we all have the chance to flourish and thrive,” State Representative Angela Nixon told Politico via text message.
“As if over 20 years of single-party rule wasn’t enough, Republican leaders are willing to lie, cheat, and steal to maintain their stranglehold of power on the state of Florida,” Nixon further said.
State Representative Al Lawson said that the newly approved map showed that DeSantis was “governing the state as a dictator.”
While the demonstration was ongoing, the TV feed to the Florida Channel, which was broadcasting the session, was cut, and the sergeant-at-arms removed an Associated Press photographer.
State Representative Dianne Hart went live on Facebook to broadcast the demonstration.
The map now goes to DeSantis for his signature.
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