COLUMBUS — State Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima) this week introduced a resolution in the Ohio Senate to reform the way congressional district lines are drawn in Ohio. It had its first hearing today in the Senate’s Government Oversight and Reform Committee.
The proposed plan would allow Ohio to constitutionalize basic governing standards and ensure districts are compact and communities are kept whole as much as possible.
“We have heard the concerns of Ohioans to ensure that the process for drawing congressional district lines is fair and equitable no matter which party is in the majority, and we are committed to reaching a reasonable solution in a bipartisan manner,” said Huffman.
The proposal as introduced would follow a 3-step process for drawing a congressional district map:
Step 1: The legislature would propose a 10-year map that requires a 3/5 vote in each chamber and a 1/3 minority vote to be enacted.
Step 2: If the legislature failed to pass a map, the responsibility would move to the Redistricting Commission, which Ohio voters approved as part of Issue 1 in 2014. Any proposed map would require 4 of 7 commission votes, including at least 2 minority votes. If achieved, a 10-year map would go into effect. If the required commission votes are not secured, a 4-year map would go into effect.
Step 3: The legislature may vote to accept the 4-year map as the new 10-year map with a 50% vote in each chamber that includes 1/5 of the minority party.
The Republican-introduced proposal gives the minority party a significant voice in the process, compared to the current process, which requires no minority votes.
Special consideration has also been given to making districts more compact; limiting splits of counties; no division or carve-outs of a congressional district within a county; and no multiple splits of counties to elongate districts.
“I am confident that we can develop a process that reflects the will of Ohioans and provides a way for everyone to be fairly and equitably represented in Congress,” Huffman added.