Redistricting commission to reconvene Friday – Spectrum News 1

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The first meeting of the Ohio Redistricting Commission was brief because lawmakers could not decide on co-chairs.

Some goals for this meeting were to set rules, get members sworn in, and pick co-chairs. However, the meeting lasted just over an hour before being postponed until Friday.

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Mike DeWine has rescheduled the meeting to Friday at 8 a.m.
  • The Republican caucus was unable to decide on who should co-chair the commission on their end 
  • Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued a deadline of next Friday to have maps complete 

House Speaker Jason Stephens, R-Kitts Hill, and Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, need to ultimately work together to decide a co-chair for the Ohio Redistricting Commission. However, Huffman told Spectrum News they did not agree on whether the co-chair should be a House member or a lawmaker from the Ohio Senate to lead Republicans during the redistricting process. 

“I’ve had one discussion with Speaker Stephens about two weeks ago,” Huffman said. “My suggestion to him was the House Republicans for the Republican Chaired last time, typically on these dual commissions sort of protocols rotate back and forth, you know, every two years and so my suggestion is that it’s the Senate Republicans turn to lead. His response to me was, ‘Well, we can talk about that.’” 

“We’re simply waiting for the Republicans to make their decision,” said House Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington. “Which will determine our decision because we think it’s appropriate to have balance.” 

Meanwhile, Ohioans across the board protested fair and adequate maps on Wednesday morning prior to the meeting. 

“We are protesting our right for the people of Ohio,” said Mindy Hedges, an Ohio citizen. “For fair representation, and for making sure that our maps and our districts are equally represented.” 

Hedges was among several fair map advocates who took to the streets of downtown Columbus and marched to the inside of the Rhodes State Office Tower where the commission’s meeting was being held. 

“Ohio is such a gerrymandered state with the way that our maps have been set up both for our state and our congressional districts,” Hedges said. 

Lawmakers are on a tight deadline to get a new set of maps figured out. The deadline for legislative candidates to file to run for next March’s primary is approximately three months away. Secretary of State Frank LaRose has advised maps should be in place by Sept. 22. 

“If you look at the artificial date that we’ve been given is the 22nd,” said Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood. “If that is the end all drop dead, then obviously what you’re looking at is a hurried process. If we’re looking at some real potential deadlines down the road to give enough time once this decision making is over. Then, hopefully, there’s the time to do what the people of Ohio deserve, which is to have a real deliberative process.” 

Gov. Mike DeWine adjourned the meeting until Friday morning hoping the co-chairs will be chosen by then. 

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