Ohio voters sent a loud message with the 2015 Election! More than 71% of Ohio voters supported a new bipartisan system to draw state legislative district lines. Issue 1 tackled gerrymandering at the Statehouse and won in ALL 88 counties.
But right after the election, Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger put plans to extend the legislative map-making reforms to Congress on the back burner. The Speaker made his opposition very clear – he suggested we wait and see how the state reforms play out. Since mapmaking only happens every ten years, we would have to wait 17 years for fair Congressional district lines. That’s simply too long!
By 2017 it was clear that the state legislature wasn't going to act on congressional redistricting reform! That's why there is now an effort to take congressional redistricting reform directly to the voters. Together, we will need to collect more than 305,000 signatures of Ohio voters in order to place the reform measure on the ballot.
Legislative inaction since the passage of Issue 1 in November 2015:
There are two proposals that mirror the Issue 1 proposal were introduced last legislative session: Senate Joint Resolution 2 sponsored by state Senators Frank LaRose (R-Copley) and Tom Sawyer (D-Akron), and House Joint Resolution 2 sponsored by state Representatives Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) and Mike Curtin (D-Columbus). Both of these resolutions received only one hearing last session.
These resolutions give the task of congressional mapmaking to the bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission. The commission would not be allowed to create districts that favor or disfavor one political party over another, split communities between districts, or create maps in secret. The resolutions make redistricting more balanced and transparent.
On March 1, 2017, Ohio Senator Frank La Rose (R-Copley) introduced a congressional redistricting reform proposal (Senate Joint Resolution 3) which leaves mapmaking in the hands of the state legislature.
The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission's Legislative and Executive Branch Committee considered congressional redistricting reform beginning in July 2013 but failed to make a recommendation on conclusion of the Commission in June 2017.
Legislative action since Fair Districts collected more than 100,000 signatures:
On September 28, 2017 legislative leaders announced the creation of the Ohio Congressional Redistricting Reform Working Group. State Senators Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Vern Sykes (D-Akron) and State Representatives Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) and Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) were appointed to be on the Working Group.
On January 17, 2018, state Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 5 (SJR 5). This congressional redistricting reform proposal was amended and was approved overwhelmingly by Democrats and Republicans in the Ohio Senate and House and will be Issue 1 on this May's ballot.