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Officials Dispute Group's Suggestion That Redistricting Talks Might Violate Ohio's Open Meetings Law

REDISTRICTING HEARING 091421 5
DANIEL KONIK
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
Ohio Redistricting Commission meets for public hearing.

The Ohio Redistricting Commission is working on creating new maps before today's deadline runs out.

While commission leaders have been circulating around the Ohio Statehouse, none of the negotiations have been public. This has good government groups suggesting commissioners might be breaking public meeting laws.

Commissioners are working towards an agreement for new 10-year Ohio House and Ohio Senate district maps. Staff says the leaders have been in and out of different meetings throughout the day.

But Catherine Turcer, with government watchdog group Common Cause Ohio, suggests that could be in violation of open meetings law, and against the spirit of the redistricting reform passed in 2015.

"We don't know what they're doing but how are they not having discussions and conversations and making decisions out of the public eye," says Turcer.

Turcer didn't offer any specifics of when meetings that violated the law might have happened.

Commission staff says leaders have not been in violation of Ohio's open meetings law. And Gov. Mike DeWine also said commission members are not violating the law.

Gov. Mike DeWine talks to reporters about the progress of redistricting on September 15, 2021, and specifically about whether meetings that have been happening are in violation of the state's open meetings law.

The maps need the approval of two Democrats to last ten years. Maps that pass without Democratic support would last four years.