Ohio Senator forges ahead with redistricting plan, still no bi-partisan support

Several dozen people marched down the hall this week toward Ohio State Senator Matt Huffman’s office

ohio statehouse columbus ohio
Ohio Statehouse, Columbus.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Several dozen people marched down the hall this week toward Ohio State Senator Matt Huffman’s office. One of them carried petitions signed by people who want a fair congressional district map free of political gerrymandering.

As they poured into his office, only to find that he was not in, they shared their concerns over his current redistricting plan Senate Joint Resolution 5 with his legislative aide.

They are not the only people to dislike what he is proposing. Janetta King, the president of Innovation Ohio, says Ohioans want a process where there is a bi-partisan drawing of congressional districts.

“Quite frankly, this is not [that] process,” said King.

King says the plan has its faults, pointing out experts in the field of redistricting say it is worse than what we have now, but it isn’t all bad. She says the plan could be a starting point, which may not be what Huffman wants to hear.

Huffman wants his plan polished and on its way to the House of Representatives by the end of next week. A lofty goal considering it lacks the bipartisan support the leaders of both chambers say they would like it to have.

The issues people have with the plan fall generally into two areas, how the maps are drawn and how the maps are approved. Both areas are complex and filled with rules Democrats say only work to keep the majority party in place.

Huffman points out that it is impossible to draw a map that does not favor one party over the other, and technically he’s correct. Based on a host of factors, some areas simply lean more toward one political party than the other.

Democrats like State Senator Joe Schiavoni, who worked with Huffman on the redistricting plan for state legislative districts a few years ago, agree there is no perfect plan; but he says there has to be a better one than Huffman’s current proposal.

Then there is the lack of ability for Ohioans to bring a referendum against the resolution. That is a serious red flag for some, but they say that could become less of an issue if the plan can be adjusted.

According to Speaker Rosenberger, Huffman’s plan is not ready and still needs work. State Representative Jack Cera is said to be working on amendments to the bill.
The resolution is expected to be voted on in committee next week, followed by a floor vote within 48 hours.

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