TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Legislature gave final approval Thursday to a Congressional map pushed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis during a raucous session as black lawmakers chanted in protest at what they say would decrease black representation in the state in the U.S. House.
The DeSantis map would increase Florida’s GOP representation in Florida and dismantle two districts now held by black members of Congress.
The Florida House approved the measure along party lines after a brief delay when black lawmakers staged a sit-in on the House floor. As the card debate drew to a close, Representatives Angie Nixon and Tray McCurdy opened their suit jackets to display “Stop The Black Attack” t-shirts and shouted the same phrase. They sat on the state seal in front of the Speaker’s rostrum and were soon joined by other black Democrats and other supporters.
The Republican-led chamber called a brief recess, all Republican lawmakers left the room, and the Florida state broadcaster temporarily stopped broadcasting the proceedings.
“It’s a good deal! Necessary trouble!” Nixon shouted, echoing a phrase used by the late civil rights activist and Congressman John Lewis.
The group sang “We Shall Overcome” and prayed. Some members took to Facebook to live stream the protest. Nixon said in a text message to The Associated Press that lawmakers would not leave the room unless physically removed.
Legislation was in a special session to approve a new congressional map after DeSantis vetoed maps lawmakers sent him. Republican leaders took a map from DeSantis instead of trying to draw their own again.
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