State Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) issued a statement Wednesday as the House concurred to Senate changes on House Bill 92, which includes added emergency language to comply with voter-initiated requirements for public submission of congressional maps via an online portal. Rep. Hicks-Hudson introduced sweeping legislation in May, 2021 that would have gone further to support public submission and require more transparency in the redistricting process. The legislature has until Sept. 30 to adopt congressional maps.
“We’re a week from the legislature’s deadline to adopt a long-term, bipartisan congressional district map, but Republicans are only now getting around to doing something that should have happened months ago to allow for Ohioans to propose and submit maps. This is a day late and a dollar short,” said Rep. Hicks-Hudson. “Ohioans demanded we do it differently this time, but we’ve seen Statehouse Republicans continue to miss deadlines and drag their feet on making this process work for the people. Democrats and Ohioans want to see a fair, open and transparent process, but Republicans need to be a willing partner in that. What we’ve seen so far falls far short of that objective.”
Rep. Hicks-Hudson introduced House Bill 313 in May, but it has yet to receive a hearing in the House Government Oversight Committee. The bill would strengthen transparency requirements in the redistricting process and allow for the creation of an online public submission portal. Other provisions of the bill would set requirements regarding public records, public meetings, and funding which the legislature would need to follow to meet the Constitutional obligations mandated by voters in 2015 and 2018.
HB 313 would also create the constitutionally required joint legislative committee to hold hearings on new congressional district maps. To date, Republican leaders have not convened a joint committee. The deadline for the legislature to adopt a bipartisan, 10-year plan is Sept. 30.