Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012
By Jackie Borchardt
Helping you understand State Issue 2
Citizens have called and emailed our newsroom and said they are confused about State Issue 2. This issue is important to Ohio and is getting lost in the debate as the focus remains or more high-profile races.
Today, the Dayton Daily News, WHIO-TV Channel 7 and Newstalk Radio WHIO are joining together to help you understand this issue.
Today at 8 a.m. on Newstalk Radio WHIO 95.7 FM and AM 1290: Listen in for a special half-hour broadcast explaining Issue 2.
Today at 10:30 a.m. on WHIO Reports on Channel 7: WHIO’s Jim Otte and our Columbus Bureau reporter Jackie Borchardt ask tough questions to supporters on both sides of Issue 2.
Wednesday at noon: Join us at DaytonDailyNews.com for a live web chat on Issue 2 with Jackie Borchardt. She will answer your questions on the issue.
What is Issue 2?
Issue 2 creates a citizens commission to draw legislative and congressional districts every 10 years following the U.S. Census. If enacted, the new panel would redraw last year’s approved districts in time for the November 2014 election.
Who is behind it?
The Ohio League of Women Voters, Common Cause Ohio and other good-government groups drafted the language but much of the funding has come from labor and teachers’ unions. The NAACP Ohio, the Ohio Libertarian Party and We Are Ohio, the group against Senate Bill 5, have endorsed the plan.
Who are the commissioners?
The 12-member Ohio Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission includes four members from each party and four not registered with any party. Any Ohioan who has voted in two of the previous three even-year general elections could apply to serve on the commission, provided they or an immediate family member have not been elected to federal or state office, worked for lawmakers or state officials or been a paid lobbyist. Applicants could not have made monetary contributions greater than $5,000 per two years to political campaigns or parties in the past five years. Commission members serve 10-year terms, but the actual work is done in 14 months between August of the census year and October of the following year. If boundaries aren’t approved by Oct. 1 of the second year, the Ohio Supreme Court will adopt the plan that most closely meets the constitutional criteria.
How are they chosen?
Eight randomly selected appellate court judges (no more than four of each party) screen the applicants and select the 42 based on relevant abilities including a capacity for impartiality. The speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives and minority leader can eliminate up to three members of the opposite party. From this pool, three Republicans, three Democrats and three non-affiliated with any party are randomly chosen. Those nine members then choose the remaining three.
What will it cost?
The state Office of Budget Management estimates the Issue 2 changes will cost between $10.9 and $15.2 million over eight years. The estimate was based on a redistricting plan proposed in 2005, a similar citizen redistricting commission in California and the cost of the current process. The estimate assumes commission members will be paid $100,000 for the first two years.
Voters First Ohio officials expect the cost to be much less and said the final cost would be determined by state lawmakers.
What will they do?
The commission will likely hire experts and consultants to assist in drawing lines based on four criteria: preserving county boundaries, competitiveness, representational fairness and compactness. All meetings and correspondence will be made public and the commission will give full and fair consideration to plans submitted by the public. Seven members of the commission must vote to adopt a plan.
— Jackie Borchardt and Text of Proposed Amendment