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Ohio House Passes Historic, Bipartisan Congressional Redistricting Reform Initiative

SJR 5 now goes before voters on May primary ballot
February 6, 2018
Republican Newsroom

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today approved Senate Joint Resolution 5, paving the way for historic, bipartisan congressional redistricting reform to now go before voters on the primary ballot on May 8th.

SJR 5 ensures that Ohio’s congressional map-making process features bipartisan support, keeps communities of interest whole and promotes districts that are compact and competitive.

“This is a big day for the state of Ohio, and I believe today’s action will lead to a successful and effective redistricting system for many years to come,” said Speaker of the Ohio House Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville). “I am proud and appreciative of all the work that went into the historic reforms contained in this proposal. I want to thank leaders from both parties for coming together on such an important issue, as well as commend the members of the public for their input and passion over the past several months. I am encouraged that, moving forward, leaders will continue to have to work in a bipartisan manner when drawing congressional districts.”

The culmination of months of bipartisan talks among the House, Senate and engaged citizen groups, SJR 5 aims to implement a congressional redistricting system similar to Issue 1, a 2015 ballot initiative that changed the way state House and Senate districts are drawn. Ohioans approved that ballot initiative with over 70 percent of the vote.

“Our goal from the beginning was to bring together leaders from both sides of the aisle to seek a compromise on how Ohio’s congressional lines are drawn moving forward,” said House Speaker Pro Tempore Kirk Schuring (R-Canton), who was among the four members on the bipartisan Congressional Redistricting Working Group. “As today’s vote shows, these talks were collaborative and productive, and I believe we are putting before voters a proposal that promotes a fair and competitive redistricting system that reflects the voices of all the people who participated in this process.”

If passed by voters in May, Ohio’s new redistricting system would require drawing a map that earns three-fifths support by each chamber of the General Assembly, including at least 50 percent support from the minority party.

Failure to meet that threshold would send the decision to the seven-member Redistricting Commission, consisting of appointees from the Governor, Secretary of State and State Auditor, as well as two Republicans and two Democrats from the Ohio House and Senate. The commission’s goal would be to create a 10-year map that earns majority approval from the commission and approval from at least two minority party members.

Further steps are also in place should the commission fail to meet that requirement, including ultimately the General Assembly approving a temporary map lasting for four years, after which time the process begins anew to create a six-year map.

Having passed both legislative chambers, SJR 5 now heads to the Secretary of State’s office to be filed as a ballot initiative.