Thursday, June 16, 2011

Speaker Batchelder, Leader Cafaro Kick-Off Redistricting Task Force

COLUMBUS – During the inaugural meeting of the Legislative Task Force on Redistricting, Reapportionment, and Demographic Research today, House Speaker William G. Batchelder (R-Medina) and Senate President Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond) announced that Speaker Batchelder and Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard) will serve as co-chairs of the Task Force.

“I look forward to working with my co-chair on the Task Force, which serves an important role in helping the legislature to craft redistricting plans that are both fair and legal,” Speaker Batchelder said.

The Task Force is required under state law to assist the General Assembly in establishing new congressional districts and to assist the state apportionment board in the creation of new legislative districts. The panel oversees the allocation of funds for use in obtaining equipment, software, data and personnel to support those efforts.

Complementing the work of the Task Force, Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office announced that they would develop and manage a website for public input into the redistricting process. The site will serve as a key platform for public involvement, providing Ohioans with the capability to draw their own maps from home and submit their proposals to the Apportionment Board or General Assembly for consideration.

“This is an important but complicated process,” Secretary Husted said. “Providing more opportunity for public participation and education will breed transparency and openness and, we hope, more trust and confidence in the development of the final maps.”

President Niehaus reiterated the importance of involving citizens in the development of districts that will impact the state for the next decade. “Public participation is the key to an open, accountable government,” said President Niehaus. “We’ve made great progress in the use of new technology to bring Ohioans into the legislative process, and I look forward to the diversity of intelligent ideas that we can gather as we draft these new political boundaries.”

The Legislative Task Force on Redistricting is charged with providing resources and technical support to the General Assembly and Ohio Apportionment Board on redistricting efforts.