Ohio hires outside help to draw legislative maps and streams entire process online

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It may not be the most riveting television.  But the fourth effort at drawing constitutional state legislative maps for the Ohio House and Senate is being streamed live on the Ohio Channel web site. The Ohio Redistricting Commission hired two outside consultants to take over the map drawing work.  Democrats chose University of Florida professor Michael McDonald and Republicans chose California consultant, Douglas Johnson. 

The Ohio Supreme Court set a deadline for March 28 for the new maps to be submitted. The Ohio Redistricting Commission hired the outside experts to draw the maps and tapped the U.S. Sixth District Court of Appeals to help resolve any disputes that  may arise during the process. The commission itself—made up of 5 Republicans and 2 Democrats—could also be called in to tell mapmakers how to proceed if disputes cannot be worked out.

The Ohio Department of Health weighed in yesterday on how Ohio may fare with a new COVID-19 omicron subvariant.  Known as BA.2, the subvariant is fueling a surge in other parts of the world including Europe. But Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the director of the Ohio Department of Health says he does not expect this subvariant to create a surge in Ohio.  He says BA.2 is closely related to the omicron variant that created the last surge in Ohio and says the  high infection rate from that variant will give more Ohioans some protection.  Still Vanderhoff is urging Ohioans to take the COVID-19 vaccine if they have not done so. He says the coronavirus has the capacity to still throw a “curveball” at us.

The Cleveland Browns will introduce the team's new quarterback, Deshaun Watson, to the media and public today.  Yesterday a second grand jury in Texas declined charges against him. The complaint before this grand jury was not a new one. One of the 22 women who have civil suits pending against Watson filed it.  This grand jury was convened in Brazoria County—south of Houston. Last week a grand jury in Harris County—where Houston is located—declined to indict Watson on nine other criminal complaints. The 22 women accuse Watson of sexual assault or sexual harassment during massage therapy appointments. Watson denies wrongdoing.


Marlene Harris-Taylor, Managing Producer for Health, Ideastream Public Media
Glenn Forbes, Supervising Producer for Newscasts, Ideastream Public Media
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV

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