Regardless of your political affiliation, we all can agree that having two primaries in Ohio is not an ideal solution to our redistricting issues. Unfortunately, however, the Ohio House was forced to approve House Bill 318, legislation that creates a June primary. This action was precipitated by a referendum launched by the Ohio Democratic Party to put the drawing of U.S. congressional districts on hold.
What this referendum would mean, however, is that Ohio will be in violation of federal law on December 7th, since candidates will not have districts in which to file. In an effort to avoid legal chaos and keep the State of Ohio in compliance with federal law, Speaker Batchelder negotiated diligently with House Democrats to make adjustments to the redistricting map to address targeted concerns. The original map already drew two Republican Congressional members together, two Democrat Congressional members together, and another Republican and Democrat member in to the same districts. The new proposed map is outlined in House Bill 369. It requires 66 votes to become law immediately, and of the 99 members in the House, 59 are Republican and 40 are Democrat.
An effort to bring the bill up for immediate consideration fell short by eight votes, despite a huge push by Speaker Batchelder. It became evident with the lack of votes from Minority Leader Budish other members of the House Democratic Caucus that they want our congressional districts drawn by the courts. It is a shame that the judicial system is being used to thwart the Constitutional responsibility of the Legislature. The House Democrats getting their way should not come at the expense of creating chaos in our state government.
As we continue to navigate this difficult situation, I can assure you that I will do what I can to make the process fair and open to all people.
Rep. Carey may be reached by calling (614) 466-1366, e-mailing District87@ohr.state.oh.us, or writing to State Rep. John Carey, 77 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43215.