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South Florida to lose clout in redistricting

Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach county will see their clout erode slightly in the state legislature because of redistricting as the number of Senate seats declines because of population shifts. In the state Senate the region will go from 12.5 (13) seats to 11.8 (12) while the number of legislative seats declines by 2.1.

In the last decade, the region has also seen a sharp increase in minority populations, specifically the percentage of Hispanics went form 31.2 percent in 2000 to 41.3 percent in 2010.

Meanwhile, the deadline has passed on the public to submit proposed redistricting maps and, after a rush of about 30 plans submitted Tuesday -- the final day -- the total number of public maps submitted to the Senate redistricting committee is 156.

The committee is "on schedule" to review draft maps by the end of November, said Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee.

On Dec. 5, when the committee will consider proposed committee bills, it will give the public another opportunity to express input, he said, including any sentiments submitted via YouTube, Twitter and email.

"If you are anywhere in Florida and you have access to the internet" you could get the benefit of input, Gaetz said.