OLBC Concerned GOP Redistricting Plan Falls Short Of Real Reform For Ohio Voters
Urges colleagues to support measures to eliminate partisan mapmaking
 
 

As state lawmakers debate Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 5, a Republican-led proposal to change the way Ohio draws its legislative districts, the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus today urged state lawmakers to consider amending the bill to address concerns many voting rights and redistricting reform experts have regarding SJR 5.


“Gerrymandering has turned the idea of the ballot box being America’s great equalizer on its head, allowing politicians to choose their voters rather than having voters choose their politicians,” said OLBC President and state Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland). “SJR 5 only makes what’s wrong with current law worse. SJR 5 keeps the authority to redraw districts within the state legislature and eliminates key controls that seek to end rigged districts and give Ohio voters fair representation.”


Democrats and redistricting reform advocates have argued this plan allows for political manipulation of the redistricting process.


“Our goal isn’t to limit ways a map can be gerrymandered,” said State Sen. Vern Sykes (D-Akron). “Our goal is to end gerrymandering all together, and SJR 5 doesn’t accomplish that.” Sen. Sykes is a member of the Congressional Redistricting Workgroup, a bipartisan group of lawmakers charged with finding ways to reform Ohio’s congressional redistricting process. “Ohioans spoke loud and clear in 2015 when they overwhelmingly supported common sense reforms to the way we draw state districts and we want to replicate that effort.”


Ohio voters submitted and overwhelmingly approved Issue 1, a 2015 ballot initiative to remove the state legislature from drawing its own seats, and instead placing that authority in the hands of the Ohio Redistricting Commission.


SJR 5 keeps the congressional map-drawing authority with legislators in the General Assembly. The plan would be approved with a three-fifths majority of lawmakers, including one third of the minority party. Should the body fail to approve the plan, the Ohio Redistricting Commission would create either a 10-year map with minority consent or a four-year map without. A four-year map could become a 10-year map if approved by the General Assembly.


If approved by the General Assembly, SJR 5 would head to a ballot to be considered by Ohio voters later this year.

 
 
 
  
Featured Posts

OLBC President Rep. Stephanie Howse Urges Action On Pay Equity On Black Women's Equal Pay Day

 

Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) today urged action on the Ohio Equal Pay Act, legislation alongside Rep. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) that would recognize the full value and potential of Ohio’s working women. 



 
 

Rep. Howse Announces Open Application Period For BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant Program

 

State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) announced Ohio schools may begin applying for the new BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant beginning today, Monday, August 10. A total of $50 million will be allocated to expand high-speed internet access for Ohio students utilizing remote learning during the COVID crisis by providing hotspots and internet-enabled devices to students.



 
 

Howse, Dems Urge House To Return To Session, Say Too Much Left Undone Amid Unprecedented Crises

 

Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today joined Dem lawmakers to urge House Republican leaders to call the chamber back into session to address several critical issues facing the state, including health and the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, systemic racism and police brutality, questions surrounding the November election, and looming state budget shortfalls.



 
 

Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Pushes To Declare Racism A Public Health Crisis

 

The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) today introduced legislation that would declare racism a public health crisis, echoing similar calls in Cleveland and Franklin County. The resolution, if passed, would be the first of its kind passed at the state level.