© 2022 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Politics & Government

Ohio Redistricting Commission must explain by Wednesday why they can't pass new maps

 Ohio Redistricting Commission meets on February 17, 2022 before the midnight deadline to adopt a third attempt at a state legislative districts plan.
Andy Chow
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Ohio Redistricting Commission meets on February 17, 2022 before the midnight deadline to adopt a third attempt at a state legislative districts plan.

The Ohio Supreme Court has given the members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission until Wednesday at noon to show why they shouldn’t be held in contempt for ignoring a deadline set by the court.

The commission failed to pass new Ohio House and Senate maps last Thursday.

Majority Republicans on the commission didn’t present new House and Senate district maps before the court’s deadline on Thursday.

Democratic co-chair Sen. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) said he’s concerned about being held in contempt but hopes that introducing maps the Republicans voted down will help their cause.

“We have documented our attempts to do that, including a vote on the committee, so I think we’re insulated from it, but again, not a lawyer, not a legal scholar. We have to leave that to the courts to make that decision,” Sykes said.

Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) said since she and Sykes disagree with majority Republicans on the commission, they will respond to the court’s order using outside counsel.

The Ohio Redistricting Commission has until Wednesday at noon to tell the Ohio Supreme Court why they didn’t follow the court’s order to produce new House and Senate maps by last Thursday. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler

One of Republicans on the commission, Gov. Mike DeWine, said he was concerned the court’s order hadn’t been followed.

“We have an obligation to file the Constitution, file the court order and to pass a map. That was the obligation. I think we could have passed a map," DeWine said last week after the commission failed to submit new maps.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost doesn’t represent any commissioner, but said since contempt has individual consequences, Democratic commissioners have been assigned outside counsel, which they say will file their response.

Since September, the commissioners have passed two sets of state legislative district maps and both times those maps have been found unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court. Those maps passed on a 5-2 vote with support only from the commission's majority Republicans.