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Florida Dems protest bill on House floor, demand GOP ‘stop the Black attack’

The Florida House of Representatives on Thursday approved Florida’s new congressional map despite disruptions from Democratic members who temporarily forced the legislative body into recess by staging a sit-in.

The protest began shortly before noon, when Democratic state Rep. Yvonne Hinson was cut off after exceeding her five-minute time limit, according to The Miami Herald. 

State Rep. Angie Nixon then made her way to the center of the chamber wielding a sign and sporting T-shirt under her jacket that read “Stop the Black attack.” Several other members joined her, including state Rep. Dotie Joseph, who led the group in a prayer suggesting Republicans are being influenced by “the adversary.”

“Right now, we’ve lined up all of the works of the adversary — all of the works of the adversary — seeking to divide us, seeking to distract us with a culture war,” she said. “We refocused us on your two highest and greatest commandments: that we would love you and that we would love each other, and that people would know you by our works and how we treat one another.”

As Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls ordered the chamber into recess and Republicans made their way out of the room, the sergeant-at-arms placed the House into lockdown.

FLORIDA SENATE PASSES DeSANTIS CONGRESSIONAL MAP WIPING OUT DEM GAINS FROM REDISTRICTING

When Sprowls called the members back into session about an hour later, he said, “It is my belief that no members of this chamber should have the opportunity to shut down our process and shut down a job that members of the public and people of Florida have asked us to do.”

“We will be concluding our business today,” he added as Democrat members attempted to shout him down.

FLORIDA HOUSE PASSES BILL STRIPPING DISNEY OF SELF-GOVERNING STATUS

Reps. Tray McCurdy, D-Orlando, Angie Nixon, D-Jacksonville, and Felicia Robinson, D-Miami Gardens, sit on the Florida Seal in protest as debate stops on Senate Bill 2-C: Establishing the Congressional Districts of the State in the House of Representatives on April 21, 2022.

The House then voted 68-38 to approve the new map as two members chanted, “Stop the Black attack!”

The House vote came a day after the Florida Senate approved the map proposal put forward by Gov. Ron DeSantis along a party-line vote.

Rep. Angie Nixon, D-Jacksonville, holds hands with Rep. Felicia Robinson, D-Miami Gardens, as debate stops for a protest on Senate Bill 2-C: Establishing the Congressional Districts of the State in the House of Representatives on Thursday, April 21, 2022.

The map, which will see Republicans pick up four congressional districts and eliminate three districts currently held by Democrats, will help pave the way for what would be large GOP gains in the state.

The new map’s detractors claim it is an example of racial gerrymandering that discriminates against Black Florida residents by carving up a majority-Black district. Any potential legal challenges to it are unlikely to be settled before the election in November.

Fox News’ Michael Lee contributed to this report.

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