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Friday, December 12, 2014

State Senate Approves Redistricting Reform Bill in Late-Night Vote

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 3:41 PM

It's like what former State Senate President Harry Meshel used to always tell you back in college: EVERYTHING GOOD happens after 2 a.m.

Such was the state of affairs this morning, as the Ohio State Senate approved a bipartisan redistricting reform bill at 4 a.m. House approval of the amendments to the bill is expected next week. (The House has already approved the original bill.)

"This was not easy, but I think in the long run this will be good for Ohio," President Keith Faber (R-Celina) said. "This is something I think everybody who was involved with can be proud of because we had a lot of give and take."

The vote came down 28-1, and lone dissenter Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) was all grumpy about it. "Amending a constitution at 4 in the morning is not a good idea," he said

The new plan would bring about a seven-member commission (including the governor, secretary of state, state auditor, a House Republican, a Senate Republican, a House Democrat and a Senate Democrat) that would employ various criteria to match newly drawn districts' voting bases with statewide voting proportions, as observed over the past 10 years. 

The main idea is to cut down on the way the current plan allows greater voting bases for districts' incumbents. As things stand now, whichever party holds two of three administrative positions on the commission can pretty much call the shots. In theory, the new process and its criteria would bring about greater political competition in elections (at least among the two major parties, so do take that thought with a grain of salt). 

Following the presumed House approval, the reform measures will be sent to Ohio voters sometime next year.

This bill does not affect congressional districts, the drawing of which created that goofy 9th District along Lake Erie (among other Republican-authored classics). 

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