Saturday, July 30, 2005
Slime-o-the-day: DeWine tries end-run on RON amendments
Kevin DeWine - and other GOP incumbents - is frothing in fear over the thought that the RON amendments might prevent them from rigging their re-elections. From the Dispatch:
The Ohio House appears ready to put a much debated bond-issue package on the November statewide ballot and will push a last-minute constitutional amendment ensuring that legislative districts can’t be redrawn until 2011.
Majority Republicans are moving quickly to counter a coalition called Reform Ohio Now that says it will get enough signatures for an amendment that would require a new, independent board to draw state and federal districts.
A House committee is scheduled to vote on a GOP-crafted amendment Monday night that Republicans hope would stop the coalition from redrawing districts for the 2008 election.
Rep. Kevin DeWine, a Fairborn Republican sponsoring the proposal, said, "We don’t want to change everybody in 2007 (for the 2008 election) and then do it again in 2011. If you do it in 2007, you’re using 8-year-old census data."
Ohio has traditionally redrawn districts every 10 years, based on new census figures.
Reform Ohio Now supporters say it’s better to act sooner than later to fix Ohio’s system, in which the party in power gets to draw a slew of districts that heavily favor its members.
Herb Asher, an emeritus Ohio State University political science professor and one of the principal backers of Reform Ohio Now, said it’s amazing how fast legislators can act "when they see themselves as protecting their own interests.
"But when it comes to remedying problems, they seem incapable of action."
Republicans are just trying to keep a flawed system in place for four more years, Asher said.
House Minority Leader Chris Redfern agreed. He dismissed concerns about old census numbers, noting Ohio is barely gaining population.
But before the Catawba Island Democrat even spoke about the issue yesterday, Republicans already had issued a press release lifting quotes from an August 2003 story in which Redfern criticized Texas for redrawing districts early, calling it the "height of political arrogance."
Redfern said there’s a big difference between redrawing districts based on a vote of the people and redrawing them because of Congressman Tom Delay’s influence.
If both amendments pass in November, the one gathering the most votes would decide whether districts are redrawn in 2007 or 2011. The House is expected to vote Tuesday on its proposal, which needs a threefifths majority. If approved, the Senate could vote Wednesday.