- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

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 Senate’s top lawyer this month told 23 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 19 Republican and Democratic senators. Public record requests have been sent to four others.

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 requests as part of their official duties.

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

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