WCBE

Lawmakers Approve Redistricting Bill

Dec 18, 2014

Credit toledoblade.com

A bipartisan redistricting bill will go to the voters next year after the measure cleared the Ohio Legislature on Wednesday.

Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles reports.

Everyone knew it was pretty much a done deal as House leaders were active in the redistricting plan approved by the Senate last week.  But still, those changes made to the plan by the Senate had to be approved by the House.  They were by a margin 81 to 7.
 
Batchelder – “The amendments of the Senate are therefore agreed to. (Applause) I’m not going to mention that I was not supposed to allow that because it was so damned refreshing. Thank you.
 
House Speaker Bill Batchelder knows this bill didn’t pass easily.  As the state’s second-longest serving lawmaker ever, he’s been in the Ohio legislature for a couple of decades and has seen bills to change the process for drawing legislative districts wither and die.  But this bill had approval from minority Democrats like Kathleen Clyde, a Representative who has advocated for changes in the process for years now.  She said she supported it.
 
Clyde “Not because it is the perfect plan but because it moves the ball forward toward fairer districts in our great state.  It allows for minority input which our current system does not.  The geographic criteria laid out in the plan will result in less partisan gerrymandering by either side.
 
One Republican who voted against it, Representative John Becker, said he thinks the plan needs more definition.  
 
Becker “As we all know, there are some federal judges in this town, I could name names but I don’t have to because you know who I’m talking about, who makes it their mission in life to pick apart our election laws to change our laws to what is in their preference, what they like, what they think is best.  My concern is that we are giving them some fodder to do that once again.”
 
Now that the Ohio House has agreed with the Senate on the new redistricting plan, it will be up to Ohio voters to give their okay.  The proposal will be readied to be put on the ballot next fall for voter approval.