This past week has been a historic one for the General Assembly and Ohio. After years of discussion regarding congressional redistricting, the House and Senate were able to come together to pass bipartisan legislation promoting a fair and efficient congressional map-making process.
Senate Joint Resolution 5 will put a map approval process on the ballot for Ohioans to vote on, similar to a 2015 ballot initiative that changed the way state legislative districts are drawn, which passed with over 70 percent of the vote.
In an age of hyper-partisanship, I’m extremely proud of the way that, here in Ohio, members of both sides of the aisle — from the House and the Senate — were able to work with engaged citizen groups to create a process that reflects the true voice of Ohioans.
To do this, we focused on ensuring that the map-making process features bipartisan support, keeps communities of interest whole, and promotes districts that are compact and competitive.
These reforms will help keep counties, townships, and municipal corporations whole.
There are a number of steps in the map-making process under this legislation.
First, the General Assembly must approve a 10-year map with a 3/5 majority, including 50 percent support from the minority party. If this cannot be agreed to, then the Redistricting Commission will step in to approve a 10-year map with a majority vote of the commission and at least two members of the minority party.
Should this step also not be agreed to, then the General Assembly may approve a 10-year map with a 3/5 majority vote, including 1/3 of the minority.
However, if the map again does not successfully pass, then the General Assembly may pass a 4-year map with a simple majority, and the process will repeat itself after those 4 years to establish a map for the remaining 6 years.
Senate Joint Resolution 5 is the culmination of months of discussion among legislators and interested parties and reflects a true effort at compromise, something that can be hard to come by these days. It was an honor to work alongside my colleagues to come to the best solution to this issue in order to more accurately represent the views and concerns of Ohioans.
Most importantly, with this initiative, voters will have the final say, putting their stamp of approval on reforms that will truly benefit all Ohioans.
Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger represents the 91st District, which includes Clinton County.