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Frustrated advocates turn out for joint redistricting committee meeting on Congressional map

Though state lawmakers are supposed to be creating Ohio’s Congressional map, with one less district, a newly formed six-member committee of lawmakers has now been tasked with discussing it.

Advocates pushing for fair maps have been protesting the process, with a deadline coming at the end of this month. Some came out to share their frustration at the first meeting of the joint committee on Ohio Congressional Redistricting Wednesday.

Four maps have been submitted - by House Democrats, House Republicans, Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats.

People who offered comment said they had had little notice that the committee would take testimony, and several complained about a lack of transparency and access to information about the Republican-led process.

Michael Ahern of Columbus has testified on redistricting before, and asked joint committee chair Sen. Teresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) about the five minute time limit set for speakers.

“You can just testify to whatever bills you’d like to testify to before the committee,” Gavarone said.

“Five minutes for all the bills, or five minutes per bill?” asked Ahern.

“Five minutes, total," clarified Gavarone.

“Total. Ok," Ahern said.

The next and perhaps last joint committee hearing is Friday. People who want to testify need to submit witness slips and written testimony by Thursday morning at 10:30. Information is at the joint redistricting committee's website.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.