YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – At the last possible minute, early Friday morning, the Ohio State Senate passed a new bill that will reform districts for the state legislature and US Congress after a marathon session.
It’s a bill that has been kicked around since 1978.
“That was a bill that we worked on for 17 hours yesterday, and we got it passed at 4 in the morning,” Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni said.
The bill radically reforms how Ohio draws its congressional districts.
The details were hammered out by a bipartisan commission from both houses.
Right now, districts are drawn to protect the political bases of current office holders.
“That’s not going to change in this next election cycle, but what it does is make it a more fair process,” Schiavoni said. “It makes it a process where you can’t gerrymander so much and you can’t stack the deck so much that there’s always going to be a majority on one end.”
The law goes to the state house next week, where it is not expected to meet resistance.
“If you take that bill and you take it to the senate and only one Republican voted against it, I think it’s pretty good,” longtime Valley politician Bill Hagan said. “It should be a slam dunk easy pass next week.”
State Rep Bob Hagan is finishing his last week in office. He predicts a rough road ahead for Democrats.
“This legislature is getting much more conservative. They’re going to go after schools, school teachers, they’re going to go after funding,” Hagan said. “They’ve already cut half a billion dollars out of school funding for the state of Ohio. They’ve cut local governmdent funding. Millions and millions of dollars. Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley have seen that.”