Columbus – Today state Senator Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) applauded the passage of Senate Joint Resolution 5 (SJR5) by the Ohio House of Representatives.
“Getting SJR5 to this point has been an arduous process,” said Senator Sykes. “This is not a perfect plan, but we were able to include sufficient bipartisanship thresholds and strict criteria that will reject gerrymandered maps.”
Crediting the bipartisan effort behind SJR5, Representative Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) said: “By working together and making compromises, we are at a point today where Ohioans will have better representation, fairer districts and a stronger democracy than before.”
Any reform plan had to contend with the proposal by the Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition, which has been collecting signatures for a November ballot measure to eliminate partisan gerrymandering.
Coalition leaders paid tribute to the hard work of volunteers across the state that forced the General Assembly to act. Heather Taylor-Miesle, spokesperson for the coalition, said: “I want to wholeheartedly thank the volunteers across the state who worked tirelessly to collect signatures, and truly gave us the leverage in the room to make this deal possible.”
The resolution will be on the May ballot. If citizens support it, it will be added to the Ohio Constitution.
Spearheading the four-member working group were the two joint sponsors of SJR5 Senators Sykes and Matt Huffman (R-Lima), along with Representative Cera and House Speaker Pro Tempore Kirk Shurring (R-Jackson Township).