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Will Ohio Supreme Court Find Fairness On District Maps?

Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown talk about the state legislative district maps case before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Maps and Gavels

The state’s top justices heard nearly 90 minutes of arguments about the fairness of Ohio’s new map of state senate and state house legislative districts. These are the maps that give Republicans a supermajority in the state legislature even though Ohio is fairly evenly divided politically and the new constitutional amendment says lawmakers should not draw maps that create a partisan advantage.

The attorney for good government groups and the American Civil Liberties union Freda Levenson argued the Redistricting Commission ignored the constitution and the will of the voters.

The attorney for Republican legislative leaders Phillip Strach argued the map approved was less partisan than an original map because Republicans tried to compromise.

The conventional wisdom says the three Democrats on the court will vote to overturn the maps. The three Republicans will vote to uphold them. And Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor will be the swing vote.

She’s a Republican, but moderate in some of her judicial views and she seemed troubled by the math Republicans used to justify their maps.

Feeling Lucky

Ohio lawmakers quickly presented and passed a bill that would allow legal sports betting in Ohio in about a year.

By the start of 2023 you’ll be able to bet - legally - on the Buckeyes, the Browns, the Bengals, the Blue Jackets, and The Guardians.

The state would collect 10% to fund education and gambling addiction prevention programs. Gov. DeWine says he'll sign it.

Snollygoster Of The Week

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce and its president – former congressman Steve Stivers –have railed against the Ohio legislature for pushing a ban on private companies imposing vaccine mandates on their employees. Now the Chamber and Stivers are railing against President Joe Biden for his mandate that companies with more than 100 employees mandate they get vaccinated.

The Chamber is being consistent: It opposes government interference in private business whether the government is restricting mandates or imposing mandates.

But it’s also a shrewd way to appease their members on both sides of the vaccine mandate issue. It's almost like the chamber is run by a former politician.

Send questions and comments to snollygoster@wosu.org.