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Florida Senate will pay legal bills for 19 senators

Florida Capital
Posted at 1:11 PM, May 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-12 13:11:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner is telling state senators that taxpayers will pay their legal bills as part of an ongoing lawsuit over state senate districts.

The top lawyer in the Senate this month told 19 senators that Gardiner has approved a $5,000 stipend for them to hire their own attorneys. The groups challenging state senate districts in April subpoenaed records from both Republican and Democratic senators.

The trial over the senate districts is scheduled for September. The groups contend the districts approved in 2012 violate a voter-approved amendment that says districts cannot be drawn to benefit incumbents or a particular party.

A spokeswoman for Gardiner said it was appropriate for taxpayers to pay for legal representation since the senators received the subpoenas as part of their official duties.

The GOP-controlled Florida Legislature since 2012 has already spent millions defending congressional and legislative maps.