Reporters’ Roundtable: Judges give Ohio District Commission final deadline to work out map mess | The Sound of Ideas

A three-judge federal panel says it will not intervene in Ohio’s redistribution process — for now. The panel decided Wednesday, by a 2-1 vote, to give the Redistribution Commission until May 28 to pass a series of maps for the Ohio House and Ohio Senate districts that pass constitutional review. If by that date the card issue remains unresolved, the panel says it will impose an earlier set of cards for use and set the second primary for those Ohio House and Senate races for August 2.

The cards the panel would impose would be the third set of cards invalidated by the Ohio Supreme Court in March.

Currently, the Ohio Supreme Court has ordered the Republican-dominated District Redistribution Commission to get back to work and produce a FIFTH set of cards by May 6.

To mask or not to mask. That’s the question travelers face. Expecting a hectic travel season this summer — as people try to make up for lost time — a Florida federal judge this week lifted the mask mandate that was still in effect for transportation. The mandate covered airlines, trains, buses and other public transport.

Airlines, airports including Hopkins, and transit systems including the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority and Laketran have all dropped their mask requirements as a result of the judge’s ruling.

The requirement has been extended to May 3rd. The Biden administration says it will appeal the ruling if the Centers for Disease Control deems the mandate necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Cases of COVID-19, fueled by the BA.2 variant of omicron, are slowly starting to rise again. But hospitalizations are not.

A boost of support for efforts to legalize recreational marijuana use in Ohio for those over the age of 21 and regulate it like alcohol.

Two Democrats in the Ohio House of Representatives, Casey Weinstein of Hudson and Terrence Upchurch of Cleveland, have introduced legislation to advance the initiated recreational marijuana legalization bill. The legislator has until May 28 to do so. If they don’t, supporters of the measure can try to collect enough signatures to put them on the November ballot and let voters decide.

Two new nonprofit newsrooms named their editors-in-chief this week.

The Ohio Local News Initiative hired Lila Mills to oversee its newsroom, which will focus on community issues and use local residents as reporters. It has the support of the Cleveland Foundation. Mills helped build the Cleveland Documenters.

The Marshall Project appointed veteran journalist Jim Crutchfield to lead its operation, which will focus on criminal justice issues. The project is supported by the Gund Foundation.

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