When the dust clears from the five-month battle of the state budget, mostly Republican versus Republican, lawmakers would do well to focus on redistricting reform. That’s right — on something that won’t come into play until the end of the decade.
Thankfully, a bipartisan group of Ohio senators is seeking to build on the momentum achieved at the end of last year. They have put together a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have a commission draw congressional and legislative district lines in the wake of the next census. The key element is that approval would require a bipartisan supermajority.
The approach doesn’t aim at the impossible, taking politics out of a political process. It does require compromise among the political players, in the hope of yielding lawmakers who place a higher priority on bridging differences.
Ohioans need look no further than the failure to expand Medicaid to see the current problem with redistricting. A large majority of Ohioans support the expansion, including business and health-care groups. Yet Republican legislative leaders have paid little heed. They helped to draw lines with most of their caucus in exceedingly safe districts.
Reach across the aisle to bolster support at home? If anything, they worry more about a challenge from another Republican. And so Medicaid expansion doesn’t get done.