COLUMBUS (AP) — New congressional districts in Ohio would require sign-off by both parties under a proposed constitutional amendment released Wednesday.
State Sen. Frank LaRose, an Akron-area Republican, said the resolution he’s proposed borrows ideas for bipartisanship, fairness and transparency from a legislative redistricting proposal Ohio voters approved in 2015. It would replace a system widely criticized as susceptible to partisan gerrymandering.
“My goal is to establish a redistricting process that does not favor the interests of one political party or another, but that works for all Ohioans,” LaRose said in a statement.
Gov. John Kasich, a fellow Republican, has expressed support for fixing Ohio’s congressional mapmaking process, which currently gives the state Legislature power to approve the maps drawn once every 10 years.
Because LaRose’s proposal is a constitutional amendment, lawmakers would have to agree to put it on a statewide ballot for voters to consider.
The proposal extends features of a ballot proposal voters approved in 2015 that revamped how Ohio draws districts for state legislative races.
Provisions of the 2015 measure established a seven-member commission of the governor, secretary of state, auditor and four legislative appointees to draw district boundaries. It also required two minority-party votes to adopt a new 10-year map.
LaRose’s proposal calls for the Ohio Redistricting Commission to take over the map-making process for Congress if the state Legislature is incapable of coming to an agreement on district boundaries that meet certain criteria involving balance and fairness.
“The current winner-take-all approach, used in our state for the congressional redistricting process, is unsustainable and leads to unnecessary friction and dysfunction,” LaRose said. “The citizens of Ohio demand reform.”