The Ohio General Assembly made history early Friday morning when the Senate passed a House-backed redistricting reform plan before adjourning for the session. State lawmakers have debated how to change to Ohio’s process for drawing legislative and congressional districts since 1978 but have never come to an agreement. The Senate voted 28-1 just after 4 a.m. to accept an amended bipartisan plan passed by the House last week. House Joint Resolution 12 now goes to the House for final approval, which is expected next week. If approved, the plan would go before voters in November 2015 for approval to be added to the Ohio Constitution. Friday’s vote followed days of discussion behind closed doors with few signs a compromise would be reached before the Senate adjourned this week. The Senate recessed from the last planned session at 8:30 p.m. so members could caucus with their parties and redistricting language could be drafted. An agreement was reached shortly after 1:30 a.m. Friday.
Senate President Keith Faber announced the deal in a 2:15 a.m. press conference alongside his Democratic counterpart Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman and Reps. Matt Huffman, a Lima Republican, and Vernon Sykes, an Akron Democrat — the two co-sponsors of the House resolution.
“This was not easy, but I think in the long run this will be good for Ohio,” Faber, a Celina Republican, said before the vote. “This is something I think everybody who was involved with can be proud of because we had a lot of give and take.”
The Senate made few changes to the proposal passed by the House last week in an 80-4 vote.