Facing deadlines, Ohio Redistricting Commission meets for 15 minutes before adjourning until Wednesday

Ohio Redistricting
Posted at 4:47 PM, Feb 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 19:31:20-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nine days into their 30-day window to come up with new congressional maps, the Ohio Redistricting Commission met Tuesday afternoon for all of 15 minutes. The seven-member committee presented no maps just the word that work has started.

“The co-chairs and I want to state on the record that we have asked our staffs to begin working together to take a look at drafting a constitutionally compliant Congressional district map,” said House Speaker and Commission member Rep. Bob Cupp.

"Constitutionally compliant" being the operative words — the previous maps drawn by the legislature were rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court as were the state legislative maps drawn by the commission. Maps they failed to re-draw last week by the court's deadline prompted the justices to give the commission until Wednesday at noon to argue why they shouldn't be found in contempt.

Governor Mike DeWine, whose son is on the high court, gave a hint that his argument will be that they're trying to please all.

"We have an obligation to follow the constitution, we have an obligation to follow the court orders, the two court orders, and finally we have an obligation to produce a map,” DeWine said. “This is, I think, a question of following the law, the rule of law, respect for law and again would want to state that’s where we should head.”

On state legislative maps, though, DeWine added this glimmer of hope.

”It's my understanding we have some progress being made on that,” DeWine said.

That appeared to be news though to the commission's two Democrats.

“There’s been mention of ongoing discussions about potential proposed maps for the state legislative districts,” said State Representative Allison Russo. “ I would note that the minority members of the commission have not so far been involved in, if there have been any recent discussions."

The Ohio Redistricting Commission announced plans to meet Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. and again Thursday to address both congressional and state legislative maps. Though they have until mid-March to reach an agreement on the congressional maps, the deadline to file to run for the seats is next Friday, March 4.