Approved by Ohio House, Redistricting Plan Heads to Voters
Everyone knew passage 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.
"The amendments of the Senate are therefore agreed to," House Speaker Bill Batchelder said. "I’m not going to mention that I was not supposed to allow that, because it was so damned refreshing. Thank you."
As the state’s second-longest serving lawmaker ever, Batchelder has 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 state representative who has advocated for changes in the process for years now.
Clyde said she supported it "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, State Rep. John Becker, said he thinks the plan needs more definition.
“As we all know, there are some federal judges in this town -- I could name names, but I don’t have to, you know who I’m talking about -- who makes it their mission in life to pick apart our election laws and change our laws to what is in their preference, what they like, what they think is best," Becker said. "My concern with all this 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.