Friday, November 04, 2011

Revised Ohio Congressional District maps - again

The Ohio House has *again* revised the Congressional redistricting map and I hope to have a new map I can post here. Until then, a copy of the new revisions can be viewed here.

The process of getting to the required redistricting has been a complicated one.

Ohio passed, and Governor John Kasich signed, H.B. 194 which moved our primary from March to May. This was to address a delay in the creation of a database of election history, census data, and geographic data that was to be used in congressional map creation. This was agreed to by Republican and Democrat leadership in Columbus.

However, in response to the change, the Ohio Democratic Party along with the group Ohioans for Fair Elections submitted sufficient signatures to send the bill to a citizen referendum during the 2012 elections.

So the House passed H.B. 318 - a bipartisan bill jointly sponsored by Reps. Lou Blessing (R) and Sean O’Brien (D). This bill, which also moved the primary to May, contained an emergency clause, ensuring the bill would take effect immediately if passed with the emergency clause.

On September 1, 2011, Speaker William Batchelder and Minority Leader Armond Budish released a joint statement, committing their unconditional support for House Bill 318 to avoid the legal chaos that would ensue if the primary was not moved. Leader Budish gave his word to the Speaker on this issue.

But, less than 24 hours before the vote, Leader Budish publicly announced he would no longer lend his caucus’ support for the bill because “House Republicans were moving too fast on passing Congressional Redistricting." It should be noted that this issue was never part of the agreement and had no correlation to the primary date change.

As a result, the Democrats failed to support the necessary emergency clause during the House vote, subsequently killing any chance for the problem to be fixed immediately.

The third attempt came with H.B. 319 which was signed into law by Gov. Kasich on Sept. 26th. This bill avoided the problem by having the new Congressional districts take effect immediately rather than 90 days after signature by the Governor; bills with an appropriation take effect immediately. The Ohio Senate attached an appropriation of $2.75 million to H.B. 319 to assist with the implementation of the map. An appropriation also prevents bills from being subject to a referendum.

Remember, the Democrats, despite having allocated funds to do so, did NOT produce any map for consideration.

In response to H.B. 319, Democrats sued in the Ohio Supreme Court, seeking the right to subject the bill to a referendum. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed that the bill would be subject to a referendum if enough signatures were gathered. Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern has threatened such action.

So now we have H.B. 369 which

* enacts 16 new Congressional districts in Ohio;
* repeals the map as enacted in H.B. 319;
* reinstates one primary date for all elections: March 6, 2012;
* Saves taxpayers $15 million in previously appropriated money that will now be un-appropriated and also reinstates the August 2012 special election; and
* declares an emergency for all portions of the bill.

Of particular interest to us, H.B. 369 makes changes in Erie and Lucas County. Rather than being split into three congressional districts, both counties are split between only two congressional districts. Wood County, which was previously split between two districts, is now entirely in one.

One of the complaints about the H.B. 319 district was that it split the City of Toledo. H.B. 369 moves 76.6% of Toledo into CD9. CD9 now contains about 56% of Lucas County.

Additionally, from what I can tell from the map as well as from the summaries I've read, it appears that they kept the Kaptur/Kucinich combination in the Cleveland area as one of the consolidated districts due to our decreased representation.

As soon as I get a map that is in a format I can post here, I will do so.

1 comment:

James said...

The Democrats won't quit whining and screaming until they get the chance to redraw the districts. Then you'll see half the Republican reps gone. And they and local paper won't mind that one bit.

Google Analytics Alternative