State Senators Frank LaRose (R-Copley) and Tom Sawyer (D-Akron) today introduced Senate Joint Resolution 2, legislation designed to infuse greater balance and transparency into the redistricting process by giving a bipartisan commission the authority to draw congressional district lines.

"Our goal is to establish a redistricting process that works for Ohioans, not politicians," said LaRose. "I'm proud of the plan we developed last year to achieve a more balanced way of drawing state legislative lines, and there is no good reason not to extend its provisions to federal districts as well."

The Senators are proposing a bipartisan plan that mirrors legislation passed by the Senate last year with nearly unanimous support to change the way state legislative lines are drawn. Like HJR 12, which will be Issue 1 on the November ballot, SJR 2 proposes the creation of a seven-member Redistricting Commission composed of the governor, auditor, secretary of state and four leaders from the legislature representing the majority and minority from each chamber. If the voters approve Issue 1 this November, the same commission will be responsible for drawing both state and congressional legislative districts. 

In lieu of the current winner-takes-all system, the Commission would draw a federal legislative map that would require the vote of four members, including two from the minority party. If a bipartisan map is passed, the congressional districts would be in effect for 10 years until the next census.  If the vote is not bipartisan, an impasse provision allows the map to go into effect for four years, at the end of which time the Commission would reconvene, potentially with new members, to redraw and pass a new map that would go into effect for the remaining six years. Maps drawn under the impasse procedure would be subjected to more stringent standards, with the aim of constraining possible partisan excesses. This resolution, ultimately, puts safeguards in place to ensure the drawing of logical, compact districts.

"The work of redistricting is historically contentious and hyperpartisan, but it does not need to be," said LaRose. "This legislation embodies the spirit of civility and compromise that voters want to see in their elected officials."

SJR 2 will soon be referred to a Senate committee for further consideration.

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