In case you haven’t been following along the saga of the Fair Districts campaign to change how Ohio draws its (partisan gerrymandered) Congressional maps, here’s the short update:

The all-volunteer campaign has already collected over 200,000 signatures to put a measure on the ballot in November. Republicans, worried that a ballot measure may 1) end their dominance of the process, which is currently in the hands of the itself-very-gerrymandered GOP legislature and 2) increase Democratic turnout in this fall’s midterm elections, have introduced a competing proposal that would go on the ballot in May and muddy the waters considerably.

The Republican proposal, SJR5, didn’t have any supporters at the first two hearings that were held. Talks have been happening behind closed doors in which both sides hoped they could get a deal that would create real reform, put an issue on the May ballot that everyone could support, and allow all sides to avoid a costly fight. Senate President Larry Obhof promised that unless they could get buy in from Fair Districts proponents, they wouldn’t go forward with their proposal. And yesterday, Republicans sugested they had a new version of the plan that everyone would like.

That didn’t work out so well.

Here’s what negotiators on the side of Fair Districts had to say last night after talks broke down:

Now, remember that promise that the Senate wouldn’t proceed to the ballot with their own plan without buy-in from Fair Districts? Here’s their spokesman list night walking that back:

In a late-night release, the Fair Districts coalition explained how and why talks broke down. Bottom line, this proposal would still allow the majority party to draw partisan maps. That isn’t what reform looks like.

The next big development could come this morning. Senate Republicans have a hearing scheduled at 10:00 am to unveil their revised plan and possibly vote it out of committee, the first step toward putting it on the ballot in May without bipartisan support. We’ll be watching (best way to stay up to date is to follow @OHFairDistricts on Twitter), but meanwhile, keep collecting those petitions!

 

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