The Ohio Redistricting Commission is currently at a standstill because Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) cannot agree on who should co-chair the committee.
According to an official notice from DeWine, the first step in reconvening the commission is to set up rules and pick the co-chairs for the meeting.
After DeWine reconvened the commission, “the appointments of any appointed members of the commission will be entered into the record, the administration of the Oath of Office will occur, the roll will be called, the co-chairpersons will be formally entered into the record and the meeting will be turned over to the co-chairpersons.”
DeWine set up the commission rules and swore in the committee members on Wednesday, but without Huffman and Stephens agreeing on a committee co-chair, work could not begin on the new legislative maps.
The governor recessed the commission until Friday but said if Huffman and Stephens do not make a co-chair selection by Thursday evening, Friday’s meeting will not go forward.
According to DeWine, “I hope we can get the co-chairs appointed very very soon. I am hopeful this can get worked out.”
The commission is on a tight timeline to approve these legislative maps before lawmakers must file to run in 2024.
As previously reported by The Ohio Star, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said that the commission needs to begin drawing the new maps as soon as possible because any delay could potentially conflict with the statutory requirements of election administration if final maps aren’t approved by the end of this month.
LaRose said the commission must approve its final legislative maps by September 22nd.
According to Huffman, he is optimistic that he and Stephens can come to an agreement.
“Ultimately this is a negotiation as these things are intended to be, I am optimistic that we will get something done by the deadline the secretary suggested,” Huffman said.
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star, The Star News Network, The Arizona Sun Times, and The Tennessee Star. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Mike DeWine” by Mike DeWine.